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Hot Zone

Hot Zone - Catherine Mann Originally reviewed on These Pretty Words.I'm pretty sure I squealed and danced a jig when I was approved to read Hot Zone for a review. I mean really, Cover Me was put directly on my re-readable shelf when I finished it, and I've been slowly making my way through the Wingmen Warriors series as well. Catherine has such a way with romance, such a strong grasp of the military, and knows how to explain new terms, processes, and 'stuff' without bogging the reader down with details. I have loved every book I've read of hers, and Hot Zone easily continues that streak.Let's start with the basics – this time our pararescuemen are on an island in the Bahamas, looking for survivors after a devastating earthquake. The book really drags you into that world of chaos and destruction, of danger and confusion. You've got a woman trapped under a collapsed hotel, doing everything she can to keep her nephew safe; a pararescuman risking his life to save her; an officer determined to keep his team alive; a search and rescue dog handler with attitude to spare; and a married couple doing what they can to help while wondering if their family is still alive. And so begins a tale of not just one romance, but three… Reading three separate romances at once added such a wonderful depth to this book. You get a peek into six lives, a look at how couples meet, come together, and stay together. It isn't just about Hugh and Amelia, the main couple in the book. There's this whole past-present-future vibe going on – the long-married couple, the two that fall in love along the way, and the newly introduced, who barely make it through a kiss before the story ends. It's beautiful, really, to see these people interact, both as couples and with other people around them – with family and friends and fellow soldiers. Each couple has their quirks, their way of dealing with each other and the stresses around them that made them so real in my head. I never got bored with the storylines, nor did I get confused as to which couple was which. Catherine kept the writing clear and the characterizations solid. The plot of the book was heart-wrenching. I cried for Hugh on more than one occasion, especially with the musical references Catherine brings to the story. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling something important, but you'll want to keep the tissues handy. Hot Zone also forces you to think about the bad side of doing good… if that makes sense (it will once you read). At times, you just can't decide whether to cheer or boo at certain characters. The story is strong, the romance is hot, the fear is tangible, and the pacing is wonderful – exactly what you need in a book like this and perfect for a cold winter night read. As with Cover Me, this book has found a permanent home on my re-readable shelf. Hugh and Amelia really wormed their way right into my heart with their charm and witty banter. The love scenes helped a bit as well. Hopefully we'll get to see more of the 'future' couple in upcoming books. I'd love to see that story play out. But for now go buy Hot Zone – read it, love it, read it again. It's totally worth it!