Casee‘s review of Hard to Hold (Hard to Hold Brothers series, book 1) by Stephanie Tyler.
Lieutenant Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator’s daughter—and about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert.
If it weren’t for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The special ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn’t need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who’s just been assigned as Isabelle’s personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won’t let Jake anywhere near her heart—until danger throws them together again. And nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot…
Other than being half of Sydney Croft, I have never read anything by Stephanie Tyler. Hard to Hold seemed right up my alley. From the blurb, it sounded very Cindy Gerard like. I love Cindy Gerard and what I’ve read of Sydney Croft I have really enjoyed.
The book starts out very dramatic. Jake Hansen is wounded on a mission in Africa when he has to go to Isabelle Markham. Isabelle is not only a doctor, but the daughter of a US senator. When Jake finds her, it’s apparent that Isabelle has been assaulted. Badly. With rebels closing in on the village where he found her, Jake is forced to take Isabelle and run to rendezvous with his team.
Isabelle and Jake form an instant bond. After returning to the States and recovering from her physical wounds, Isabelle wants to meet Jake face-to-face. Isabelle has taken on a job as a doctor at a military base; the same base that Jake works on. What she doesn’t know is that she has been steered in the direction she is going b/c the man that hurt her in Africa is still at large.
Jake is called on by Isabelle’s uncle, who just happens to have the title of Admiral. Ordered to protect Isabelle on the Admiral’s terms, Jake agrees with one condition. He will protect Isabelle how he sees fit. The only catch is that Isabelle can’t know that Jake is basically her bodyguard.
Isabelle is still dealing with the aftermath of her attack. She knew her attacker, had even been intimate with him at one point. Her recovery has been hard enough, thinking that Rafe is behind bars. It is the only thing that brings her comfort. Jake also brings her comfort, but it’s a different type of comfort.
Tyler did an amazing job of writing the tension between Isabelle and Jake. Their attraction is fierce, yet they both have inner demons that they are fighting. One thing I didn’t like was Isabelle’s insistence that Jake tell her his secrets, but not wanting to reciprocate. It just smacked of hypocrisy. That was really the only thing about Isabelle I didn’t like.
After I finished the book, I tweeted that I hated the ending. It was just so abrupt. A week or so after finishing it, my opinion has changed. Not that I like the ending; I don’t. Now I’m able to appreciate the symbolism that came with the ending, even if I didn’t personally like it.
I will definitely be continuing this series. Kudos to Stephanie Tyler for keeping the military storyline fresh.
4 out of 5.
Upcoming books in the series: