The Commander is second in Kay David’s The Guardians trilogy. Not as compelling as the first book, it’s still a solid read with strong characters.
You’d think from the title that the commander is some hunky SWAT team cop, wouldn’t you? In a very nice twist, Destin, Florida’s Emerald Coast SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team commander is Lena McKinney, a tough, smart, and beautiful woman. Lena is single, but not for lack of trying. Two years ago, she was on her way down the aisle when her fiancé, fellow cop Andres Casimiro, failed to appear. When he finally did show up the next day, his excuses seemed lame and he wouldn’t explain in any great detail. Lena ended the relationship and now swears to herself she no longer loves Andres.
As for Andres, the night he was to be married cost him not only Lena, but his best friend. Andres was working undercover and had received a call that his closest friend and best operative, was in danger. Too late to save Mateo’s life, the words he might have used to save his relationship with Lena could not be spoken. For Andres is convinced Lena’s powerful father, Phillip McKinney, was behind Mateo’s death, and is involved with The Red Tide, a lucrative drug smuggling operation.
Two years have passed and Andres now works for the Justice Department. He’s due to arrive in Destin any minute, and Lena’s SWAT team has been assigned to protect him. When they meet again, it’s obvious to them both there is still something smoldering between them, but each is too proud to admit it. When Lena presses for more information about what really happened that night, Andres remains silent, which convinces her that he simply doesn’t trust her. Without trust, there can be nothing between them – no love, no relationship, no marriage.
Andres is the first to realize that he and Lena are meant to be. His Cuban ancestry gives him emotional facets to his character (oh, those hot-blooded Latins!) that we don’t always see in romantic heroes, making him very appealing. It is Lena who is by-the-book and intent on ignoring her rekindled feelings for Andres. But their attraction and genuine love will not be denied. They share a heady love scene that left me wishing for more.
There is a bit of a mystery here, too: Was it really Lena’s father who tried to have Andres killed? Phillip and Andres plainly hate each other but does Phillip’s hatred run so deep he would have his daughter’s future husband murdered? Could a man of his wealth and position really be involved with drug smugglers? I’ll admit, I was thrown a little; the author did a good job with her clues.
Kay David is a refreshingly good writer. Nice imagery but not overdone, a balanced blend between action and contemplation. No purple prose, no clichés, no stereotypes, and nothing but respect for the men and women of SWAT whose job it is to lay their lives on the line to serve and protect.
The only quibbles I have with Ms. David’s writing are the lack of humor in these stories, and the scant love scenes. I know cops have stressful jobs, but I also know that, in real life, they use humor to cope. As far as the romance goes, there’s lots of sexual tension, but one brief love scene in each book is a bit meager. You do everything else so well, Ms. David. May we have more romance, please?
I’m on to the third book in this trilogy, The Listener, and am looking forward to another solid read by an author I will continue to seek out in the future.