Hold Your Breath
Search and Rescue, #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: April 5, 2016
Number of pages: 386
Cover Artist: Craig White
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
As the captain of Field County's ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise "Lou" Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he's never felt more alive... even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own terms... no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.
What makes you unique as a writer?
I’ve had a diverse range of experiences, from living off-grid in the mountains to working on a police department crime-scene team to getting my ice-rescue certification. My interests are just as varied, including target shooting, horseback riding, yoga and Krav Maga. Every new thing I learn gets filed away for later potential book use. Because I’ve lived (or at least attempted) a lot of the things I write about, I believe that enhances my books, allowing a reader to get caught up in the feel and sight and smells and sounds of a scene.
Also, I’m funny. Okay, so I try to be funny.
What are your five biggest distractions from writing?
1. My night job at a bakery. Although I love making food for the masses (who knew I was a lunch lady at heart?), it’s a big chunk of time away from writing.
2. Edits, promo, emails, the evil that is Facebook with its time-sucking ways, and every other part of being an author that doesn’t involve the actual writing of a book.
3. Life. The truck needs an oil change, the bathroom needs to be cleaned (groan), the driveway needs to be cleared of snow, my hair desperately needs a cut (the ends look like my dogs chewed on them), I need to go for a run, I have no non-hole-y underwear, and I’m scheduled to meet my (awesome) parents for lunch. Life stuff takes a lot of time.
4. Other authors’ books. “I’ll just read one chapter,” I promise myself. The next thing I know, my alarm’s going off, and I’m waking up with a book on my face after only forty minutes of sleep.
5. The internet. Sometimes, I just want to check some tiny fact, like the spelling of a certain model of gun, for example. Two hours later, I finally escape the clutches of the Web and realize I forgot to find the answer to my original question.
What’s the best vacation/trip you ever had?
Wow… the best one? I loved SCUBA diving in Barbados, but I think my absolute favorite is Mountain Sky Ranch in Montana (just north of Yellowstone). Every year, I go to Wild West Women’s Week, and we have waaay too much fun riding horses and skeet shooting and fly fishing and carousing. The carousing’s the best part ;-).
What’s your favorite rainy day activity?
Reading! Also, if it’s not raining too hard, I actually like running in the rain (even though the dogs get awfully muddy).
What are your 5 favorite words?
Wallow, flabbergasted, melancholy, smitten and grotesque. My favorites change quite a bit, though. I’m a bit of a word trollop.
So, when it comes to the first book in a new series by a new to me author, I'm always a bit anxious. But not so much with this book. Mainly because I read the free prequel, On His Watch first. I was impressed that the author managed to pack so much goodness into 100 pages, and that left me excited to see what could be done with a full length novel. I was not disappointed. We met both Louise Sparks and Callum Cook in the prequel. There was definitely some chemistry going on between the two then. This book is where we really watch those sparks catch flame.
Lou Sparks was a fantastic female character. Here is a woman who is making it on her own, forging a new life for herself, away from a super controlling family. She is learning as she goes, but is not afraid to accept assistance when she needs it. I really hate when a female character is stubborn for the sake of being stubborn, or does the stupid contrary thing to prove 'the man' can't tell her what to do. That is NOT Louise. Thank heavens. Lou uses humor and a bit of sneaky sarcasm to get her points across. I really liked her, although Callum stole my heart.
Callum, is Lou's Captain and boss when she's working with the Field County Rescue Dive Team. Callum is the only paid position on the team, and though we don't really learn much about his job, we do learn a lot about the type of man he is. Former military, and very by the rules, he is very much a controlling alpha male. But it's his OCD issues about cleaning and how he keeps his house and vehicle that had me laughing with Lou as she discovered his quirks and foibles.
The romance was very slow to simmer. The first kiss didn't happen till 33%, and the next kiss doesn't happen until 52%. However, I liked the slow burn of the romance. While Lou and Callum tried to figure out the mystery of the HDG, as well as trying to figure out who was slashing Lou's tires, their friendship and partnership grew, creating a really great bond. Something else that I liked was that while Lou and Callum were trying to figure out the victim's identity, they had to deal with things like HIPA laws. There was no convenient person willing to spill anyone's personal information just because some random stranger asked. This kept things very realistic and earned my respect that the author didn't take the easy route. Also when the smexy times did finally occur, safe sex happened, again keeping things real.
My biggest complaint? There were a few slow parts, during the build up. Though on the flip side, it was necessary to set the full stage for everything that was to come. Overall, this was a terrific read and I'm thrilled that I already have ARC of book 2, Fan the Flames ready to read soon.
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read and review the book.
When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads