Cover of Darkness
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It’s no secret that I’ve got a soft spot for men in uniform; I am married to a sailor, after all. I also live on a navy base populated heavily by Marines and Navy SEALs, so I enjoy romance novels that center around SEALs and other special operations communities. So, since I was in the market for a new SEAL book to read, I’m glad I stumbled upon Cover of Darkness by Kaylea Cross.

Now, Cover of Darkness is an ebook, so I wasn’t too crazy about reading it in Adobe PDF (I really should invest in a Kindle if I’m going to continue reading ebooks), but the story itself was a nice change of pace.

At the beginning of the book, Bryn McAllister is visiting her father in Beirut. As the half-American, half-Lebanese daughter of a high-ranking member of the Lebanese government, Bryn is certainly not looking for any trouble. But trouble finds her when she and her father are kidnapped by Farouk Tehrazzi, a very dangerous high-level terrorist.

  
 
Lieutenant Declan McCabe is the head of the Navy SEAL team sent in to rescue her. And since this is a romance novel before it is a military suspense novel, of course sparks fly almost immediately.

We also meet Luke Hutchinson, a CIA operative who had a hand—unwittingly, of course—in creating Tehrazzi and many other Al-Qaeda and Taliban figures (including the Big Enchilada himself, Osama bin Laden). Bryn happens to be best friends with Hutchinson’s son Rayne, also a SEAL.

The Hutchinson/Rayne/Bryn triangle is pretty confusing, and, to be honest, I don’t think it adds a whole lot to the story. Bryn winds up working with Hutchinson, Declan, and the rest of their team in order to catch Tehrazzi. Since she escaped from him once, Tehrazzi wouldn’t be able to resist the challenge of capturing Bryn again and finishing her. Can Bryn and Declan’s budding romance survive, assuming they survive at all?

At the beginning of the novel, I was tempted to compare it to Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, which is also about Navy SEALs. But as the novel progressed, I saw that I couldn’t compare the two. Cover of Darkness is very pro-America and pro-military, whereas Brockmann’s novels are written from more of a liberalistic viewpoint, which doesn’t accurately portray the military mindset.

Unlike Brockmann’s “heroes,” Declan McCabe would never be caught dead questioning whether or not Americans are the good guys or why they were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. He might be concerned about, say, collateral damage, but he never doubts his mission. I will grudgingly admit that Brockmann is the better writer, but I feel more connected to Cross’s characters because they think more or less the way I do. I also think that Cross writes far more believable military men—men who think the only good “tango” (terrorist) is a dead tango. But Cross is also very careful to show “good” Muslims, the people who live their day-to-day lives by the actual teachings of Islam (there is one elderly woman who—despite grave danger to herself—shows compassion to Bryn) and not the more twisted fanatical teachings.

Cross’s sex scenes are good and hot, although not as plentiful as I’d like. And wy only real complaint about the characters is about Bryn herself; she seems to be a bit of a “Mary Sue,” or the perfect woman. I’d like to see some flaws in her, some chinks in Bryn’s armor.

All in all, though, I liked Cover of Darkness a lot. It’s a little more amateurish than I’m used to, but I would definitely read it again, especially since Cross ends the novel in a way that basically begs for a sequel. I hope Kaylea Cross doesn’t let me down!

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