WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS by C. Chilove
Publication Date: April 19, 2021
Genre: Military Romance
Lieutenant Colonel Brenden Jasper lives a life of secrets, danger, and clandestine missions. As commander of the most elite Black Ops unit in the world, nothing is more important to him than protecting the country he loves. But there’s a reason only the toughest, battle-tested, alpha men can call themselves members of the Black 2131 brotherhood. None but those in the highest realms of government even know of its existence, and it’s Brenden’s job to avoid emotional entanglements so he can keep it that way.
Dr. Paige Nichols has spent her life ruled by logic and reason, teaching and analyzing art history, so nothing could have prepared her for the completely overwhelming attraction-at-first-sight when she sets eyes on Brenden. Their chance encounter at a party opens her up to a tantalizing dark side she never knew she had—and leaves her wanting so much more. But a man with a dark side often comes with way too many secrets…ones that could put her life in danger.
Though their chemistry burns hotter than ever, when danger comes knocking on Paige’s door, Brenden will have to walk a fine line between duty, honor, and love.
I enjoyed this romantic suspense and found a new author. Paige was an intelligent and accomplished woman with pain-shadows from her past. That pain rounded out her character nicely and explained her love of art therapy. I liked learning more about that and how the author didn’t inundate us with too much information. My two complaints about Paige are: 1. With her intelligence and detail-oriented background, how could she have forgotten something so important. (I won’t explain as I don’t post spoilers.) 2. With her family’s military background, her anger with his inability to give her work details frustrated me.
Brenden was a smoking hot Black-Ops member. Tough as nails and hard yet showing a tenderness that was appealing. His combat history has left him with PTSD issues in need of resolving. They made a good couple despite the chaos surrounding them. I enjoyed watching their relationship build, and the spicy hot romance. The storyline seemed unnecessarily chaotic at times, too many tropes thrown in that weren’t needed. However, I did like the tension from issues at her job – and of course the dangers from his Black-Ops work. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Chilove.
*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
C. Chilove is a southern girl writing sexy, thought-provoking romance that explores the human condition while proving love transcends societal clichés. Her characters are strong, witty, and prove that diversity is beautiful. When she’s not writing, she’s living out her personal happily-ever-after by rockin’ the stands for her Volleyball star, cheering on her future MLB slugger, or celebrating date night with her hubby.