Rescuing Casey (Delta Force Heroes #7)- Susan Stoker
Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead
Synopsis: One minute, Casey Shea was minding her own business, doing her job, teaching entomology to college students, and the next she was in the middle of the Costa Rican, jungle fighting for her life.
Troy “Beatle” Lennon has watched his friends fall head over heels in love, but never thought it would happen to him. Until he sees a picture of his teammate’s sister. That was it. The absolute joy in her eyes calls to him in a way he can’t understand.
But that joy is currently being threatened by an unknown person who had Casey kidnapped and hidden deep in the jungle. It’s up to Beatle to find her and keep her safe until the threat can be neutralized. Surviving the dangers of the jungle turns out to be the easy part…staying ahead of the killer is much more complicated…and deadly.
College professor Casey Shea is researching insects in Costa Rica with three students when they are kidnapped. It takes two Special Forces teams to rescue everyone and Casey is nearly dead by the time they find her. She uses the training her protective Delta Force brother Blade gave her to hang on as long as possible until the team can find them. Based on Blade's stories, teammate Troy "Beatle" Lennon is already attracted to Casey, but meeting her in the flesh seals the deal. She's his and he'll do whatever he needs to keep her safe and get her out of the jungle. But can they sort through the different lives they lead to come together, or will logistics and a crazy kidnapper tear them apart?
While nobody wants to be kidnapped, I think everyone hopes they would be Casey in a kidnapping scenario. She keeps her calm, keeps her students calm, then manages to use Blade's survival tips to stay alive while basically being buried alive waiting for rescue. Smart, level headed, and stubborn, Casey is an excellent and enjoyable heroine. It's only natural that she fall for a soldier nicknamed "Beatle" who's afraid of bugs. Beatle is tough yet sensitive, kind yet kick-ass, smart without being a jerk. Just about all you can ask for in a hero. He's also learned enough from watching his friends fall in love to value communication. From the beginning he not only tells Casey how much he likes her and is attracted to her, he tells her how much he respects her strength- whether that is surviving being buried alive or trekking injured through the Costa Rican jungle.
Despite liking both the main characters, I have to admit I didn't feel that instant chemistry they supposedly had between them. In fact I felt almost no spark between them for most of the book. Great friends and partners, sure. Insanely instantly in love? Not so much. I wanted to feel it, but the connection was only ever vaguely there for me. Partly this might have been from the distraction of feeling like I was re-reading the same thing over and over. Stoker had a tendency to repeat herself in Casey that I haven't noticed in her other books (Rescuing Kassie), making it feel like I was plodding through a jungle of my own to get to the story.
When we figure out the mystery of the kidnapping it is both completely ridiculous and terrifyingly possible at the same time. People are willing to do anything for themselves and their careers and the motive behind the kidnappings brings that home in a way that is almost more frightening than the more 'traditional' kidnapping motives like ransom or blackmail. I kind of wish we'd gotten to see more of the 'bad guys' (not going to give away who did it even with the "Spoiler Alert" at the top of the post!) than we did, although at the same time I think it worked better the way Stoker kept it in the background until the very end.
All of the Delta Force series can be read as standalone books, although all of the team members and their significant others do appear in each book. Rescuing Casey was a good addition to the series (which I admit I have not yet read all of, but I'm working on it!), though not destined to be my favorite. Still, well-developed, realistic, and likable characters with both humor and common sense made this a book well worth reading.
I received an ARC of this book from InstaFreebie in exchange for an honest review