Connelly's Flame (The Megalodon Team, #3) by Aliyah Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finally, I've started this series. I am smacking my head and asking what took me so long. Navy SEALs, interracial. Am I crazy? Well, I have rectified my mistake, and I am a happy camper.
This was a really good book. Aliyah Burke is an excellent writer. Her voice is authentic and polished to the eyes, making for an enjoyable reading experience. Her characters are real life and likable, flaws and all. I loved Dezarae. She was unique and interesting. Her ethnicity was a part of who she was, but she was in no way a stereotype. I liked that she was normal-sized with muscles from the physical work she did, and she was sexy with it. I loved her independence and the fact that she was good at doing something she loved--restoring cars. I've never been into cars, but movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, XXX, and the Fast and the Furious movies have pricked my interest. I recognized the Shelby from Gone in 60 Seconds, which was awesome. I seriously love a heroine who has her own life going on, but at the same time, she's open and warm. Dezarae opened her heart and her life to Ross in two huge ways: she saved his life, and she gave his daughter a safe, warm home. How could you not love her? Another thing I loved about this book was how many male friends she had (and no, not in dirty-minded way). I like to see women having male friends and being able to fit into that world easily because of their mutual interests. They respected her for her personality and her car savvy. They accepted her for who she was and she was happy in her own skin. People do want to be around you when you are confident and outgoing, so it makes total sense. It makes me wonder if I need to get into this kind of hobby so I meet more guys (I'm kidding, mostly)! Too bad I don't have a bit of mechanical car sense other than how not to get ripped off by car mechanics! Anyway, Dezarae had wonderful texture and I loved her as a heroine. I would have loved to understand why she had trouble believing Ross really loved her. I'm guessing it had something to do with her failed relationship with Jack, but this isn't explained. Maybe the fear of loss from her father dying...
Ross was not only deliciously hot, he was a genuinely nice guy. He cracked me up with his possessive jealousy. I like that in a hero, and I like that he wasn't too irrational about it. He had to deal with the fact that his woman was the kind of woman that men liked being around, even on a platonic basis. For all of that, he didn't try to change her or mold her to fit his preconceived notions. He really found her sexy for who she was. I think he was a very good dad, and I liked seeing him with his daughter Charmane (and I feel her part added significantly to the book, and she wasn't just a plot point), and how natural it felt for them as a family with Dezarae. He did have some insecurities about being low on the totem pole in his Team, but he wasn't aggravating about it. Towards the end, he was tripping out some, but I forgive him!
As far as romance rating, I rate this high. It's very steamy and that was great. Burke writes great love scenes: hot and sensual without being a turnoff because of the raunch factor. The steam shows the feelings and the growing love between Dezarae and Ross. You could see although there was intense chemistry between them from the beginning, they don't jump right into bed, which was great. They give their feelings time to be real and not just about sex. And when they do get intimate, it's so much better!
I can tell that Burke does have some real-life understanding of the military. She writes a sexy, credible Navy SEAL hottie hero, but it feels realistic and deals with the hard realities of that life. I loved the friendship between Ross and his Team, and how they open up ranks around his new-found love. Although I haven't read the first two books, seeing the couples from those makes me eager to read them very soon. Of course, I will make sure I get all the books in this series (I think I have most of them already), because I definitely want to read more of SEAL Team Megalodon and the women they love.
I guess I'll have to give this five stars, 'cause I really liked it a lot!
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