Shattered is another in JoAnn Ross’s High Risk series featuring members of the Navy SEALS and Special Forces. It features great characters and a hero and heroine with some of the best chemistry since Brad and Angelina, but the story has some pacing problems. Shane Garrett really wanted to be a Blue Angel, but a slight case of astigmatism ruled that out. After a bit of eye surgery, he joined the Army and became a pilot for the Night Stalkers, where he’s one of the best helicopter pilots out there. Even the best sometimes meet with little accidents, and Shane is introduced to Dr. Kirby Campbell while she’s picking shrapnel out of his butt.
Kirby and Shane feel an instant spark of sexual desire and embark on a hot love affair. They tell themselves that it’s just sex, but in their hearts they know it’s more – they really, really like each other. However, they do part when Shane goes to fly another mission, but they meet again in Germany where Kirby is working at the military hospital there and Shane has lost his lower leg in an accident in Afghanistan. Out of pride, Shane will not respond to Kirby’s kindness and they part, thinking that’s the end of their relationship.
After rehab, Shane is fitted with a state of the art prosthetic leg and he goes to South Carolina to be near some of his buddies, Zach Tremayne and Quinn McKade. He gives flying lessons there while his friends try and fix him up with a woman. But Shane still thinks of Kirby. Meanwhile, she is serving with a medical organization with her friend Rachel in Montelon, a central American country where oil has been discovered. With riches comes corruption and the president of Monteleon is a prime sleaze. A guerilla group has vowed to fight him which they are doing by recruiting child soldiers. Kirby and Rachel care not for politics and treat any and everybody. But that cuts no ice with the guerilla leader. While Kirby is in Washington asking Congress for aid, the terrorists kidnap Rachel and demand ransom. While the policy in Washington is not to negotiate with terrorists, Rachel has a relative who is a Senator. And he wants her rescued.
Shane and Kirby are in on the rescue, and this is where the book stops dead in its tracks while they explore their feelings for each other. Meanwhile, poor Rachel is being held by terrorists. Now while I liked Kirby and Shane very much and was thrilled they were back together, I really wanted to tell them: “Umm, guys – your friend Rachel is being held by a bunch of crazy child soldiers who are hopped up on drugs and carrying guns and machetes. Don’t you think you ought to get down there and rescue her and leave the reunion for later?”
Eventually they do get to Monteleon with some of Shane’s old Special Forces buddies and just in time too. There’s a volcano near the area where Rachel is being held and it’s about to erupt.
Despite the pacing problems, I did enjoy Shattered. I am a pushover for military characters and Shane was a prime one. He was smart, just cocky enough to be endearing without being irritating, loyal and a generally good guy all around. He’s been through a lot, and is empathetic without being angsty. I liked him. I liked Kirby too. She is a good doctor, smart and loyal and she and Shane had great chemistry.
At the end of the book, there’s a teaser for the next story featuring hotshot womanizer Sgt. Dallas O’Halloran. I’ll read it for sure. I’ve grown quite fond of these guys.