published by Berkley in March 2013
LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…Genre: Contemporary romance/Romantic suspense (?)
Rebecca James was once revered for her devil-may-care attitude and backcountry survival skills. But ever since she lost her partner in a fatal accident, patches of her memory have been missing. And until she can recall those final, tragic moments before the accident, she can’t move on.
Since Marcus Landers was permanently injured during a mission, all his energies have been focused on his Lifeline team. When Becki—whom he had an intense affair with seven years ago—arrives in Banff, he’s inspired to reignite the spark they once had. Their mutual ardor slowly awakens Becki’s dormant, haunting memories.
New truths surface until Becki must at last confront her greatest fear. Remembering the past might mean a future without the man she loves…
Series: Adrenaline Search & Rescue, Book #1
The Story: Becki James is trying to get back into the swing of mountain climbing after an accident that cost her a loved one and a few hours of her memory. Because of those lost hours, she's also lost confidence in her ability. But she takes a job in Banff, Alberta because it's a teaching job and she figures she can slowly ease her way back into things.
Marcus Landers is the leader of a search-and-rescue team in Banff. His brother runs the S&R training school and he's hired Becki on to teach. Marcus, who had a brief affair with Becki a few years ago, is interested in having Becki give his squad a refresher course. And after seeing her again and realizing she has some demons and that he still wants her, he decides that he'll help her get her confidence back. And he also hopes that she'll want to stay around in Banff instead of returning to Yellowstone.
Nath: So what did you think of High Risk, Ames?
Ames: I really enjoyed it! I wasn’t expecting it to be so steamy, but I liked it. I loved the Canadian setting and I found the whole thing interesting - the mountain rescue stuff and getting prepared for it.
What did you think?
Nath: Same as you, Ames :) I thought High Risk was very enjoyable and very hot LOL. It is a romantic suspense I think, but at the same time, not the kind we are used to, so that was a nice change :)
I know we picked it up because of the Canadian setting :P However, I don’t think it played such a big part...
Ames: Well for a mountain town, I don’t think there could much differentiation between Canadian and American. LOL I’m not familiar with Banff or Alberta at all so who knows? But still, it took place in Canada. That’s a good thing.
I don’t consider it a suspense...because it was an internal conflict. There weren’t villains out to get them or anything. It was the demons in Becki’s head that drove the plot.
Nath: You’re right, there’s probably not a big difference between a Canadian and American mountain town and LOL, I’m not familiar with Banff either. But it was nice to read a book set in Canada for a change :)
As for High Risk being a romantic suspense or not, I hear what you’re saying about the plot being driven by Becki’s demons. But at the same time, you have a “what happened?/who did it?” which is why I considered a RS. LOL, someone wants to weigh in, be the tiebreaker?
In any case, it doesn’t really matter what genre the book is so long as it’s a good book :) What did you like the most about High Risk, Ames? While I thought the mountain rescue stuff was interesting, what won me over were the characters, especially Becki and Marcus. I loved how self-confident the two were, going after what they wanted and not letting setbacks dictate their lives.
Ames: I agree! Becki and Marcus totally made this book for me. First, I liked that they had a past. And not a horrible one either. They had one weekend of crazy hot passion and then they went their separate ways. And both of them were doing what they loved. They weren’t pining for each other. Becki had even fallen in love with someone else during that time. And I liked how they came back together. Marcus runs a search and rescue team and his brother runs the training school. Becki’s hired on to train at the school. It was very organic the way that happened.
And Marcus. I loved him! He has some ghosts of his own to deal with but here’s this alpha guy who doesn’t let something hold him back. And he goes after what he wants. What got me about him was that he was alpha all the way, but he treated Becki equally. They were really balanced as a couple. And that made their bedroom shenanigans super hot when she ceded control over to him. Rowr.
Nath: I’m with you :) I liked that Becki and Marcus had that hot week-end and then, each went in their own direction, did their own things, without hurt and hard feelings, just good and hot memories! Just that simple thing made this couple refreshing already :) I also enjoyed the maturity with which they both handled the rekindling of this fling :) Becki had her doubts because her lover has just recently passed away and she feels disloyal, but she talked it out and came to a conclusion without it being too big of an issue. The only thing about this romance that bothered me a bit was how repetitive the sex scenes were ^_^; Yes, they were hot... but it seemed to be very similar after a while. However, kudos to Ms Arend for sticking with her style. I liked that she didn’t tone down the sex scenes simply because she got published by a more mainstream line :)
As for Marcus, once again, I have to agree with you :) He had an alpha attitude, but wasn’t over-bearing. LOL, at least with Becki! Not sure his team would agree :P I thought he was a great leader and mentor and just had a good attitude. There’s something big about Marcus that isn’t mentioned in the blurb and we want to keep it as a secret in this review, because it’s a nice element of surprise... but I just want to say that I liked his attitude towards it. Very positive and accepting. So it kind of surprised me that he still hadn’t dealt with the events that had caused it :(
Ames: I agree - I felt like his stuff was still a bit unresolved. I don’t want to call them black-outs, but when he retreated into himself? I felt that was kind of overlooked at the end. And I was pleasantly surprised by that particular element of Marcus’ that isn’t mentioned. I would like to see more characters like that.
Overall, I thought High Risk was very enjoyable. I like that the conflict was almost all internally driven. The characters were very well rounded and had healthy attitudes about sex. Yay. LOL
Nath: Yes, I would have liked a bit more closure about Marcus’ issue. It seemed like it was included so Marcus would understand what’s Becki is going through and then, it was swept under the rug, forgotten. I mean, sure, Becki’s issue was more current... but does that mean that Marcus will still have those moments in the future and they will just deal? I mean, I’m fine with it. I don’t need everything to be tied in a nice bow, but I like everything to be addressed ^_^;
You’ve summed it up really well for High Risk. I think it was a good first installment. There was a good balance between a nice romance with an unique couple and the setting up of the series, the introduction of the search and rescue and the rest of the team. I think Ms Arend did a good job at not overwhelming us, but I do hope there’ll be more search and rescue in the future books :)
So how are you grading High Risk? For me, it’s a B-. It was a very enjoyable book with a few good surprises :) However, I think there was a bit too much sex and those pages could have been used towards making the internal conflict a wee stronger.
Ames: I am giving High Risk a B. Like I said, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have any complaints about the love scenes. :P Just Marcus’ stuff getting swept under the rug, like you said. And I also agree that a bit more search and rescue will be good in future books. Becki wasn’t part of the team so I can understand why it wasn’t focused on heavily in this book. But I look forward to it in the next book for sure.