Monday, July 11, 2016

Into the Blue (Wild Aces #2) by Chanel Cleeton

* * * 3/4

Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.

Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.

Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing a book review for an author I’ve been reading awhile is that I feel I have nothing new to say. Having a go-to author is akin to having a favourite comfort food or movie – you know it’ll always give you good vibes and that’s how I feel about Chanel Cleeton’s books.

Into the Blue is the second in her latest Wild Aces adult romance series about fighter pilots and the women they love and who love them back just as fiercely. Alpha males in jaw-dropping uniforms and dangerous missions aside, these men have reached the apex of their careers and are now searching for more out of life. In this case, Eric aka Thor, comes face-to-face with his past when he bumps into Becca ten years after he walked away from her. It’s an unexpected reunion and if anyone thinks that time heals all wounds, well then Becca did not get that memo. She’s still smarting from what she considers an ultimate betrayal when Thor chose his career over her. So seeing him again has her reliving all the hurt and bitterness. She goes into defensive mode, not wanting to give him the time of day whereas he wants to make amends. Becca is finally at a stage in her life where her hard-earned career is doing well so she doesn’t need Thor coming in and messing things up. He on the other hand, is still reeling from a tragedy that has left his head a mess and his performance at work suffering. Rather than putting his colleagues in harm’s way, he’s taking a break and heading back to his hometown. The fact that Becca still resides there has a bit to do with it but really he just needs to be back in familiar territory to find his footing again. Making things right with her is part of his healing process.

Once again, Cleeton has nicely balanced two individual stories, drawing these characters back together at a pivotal time in their lives. I found Into the Blue to be more complicated and not just because Thor is coping with loss. It’s also about how Becca’s career is equally important and how these matters factor into the possibility of them rekindling their relationship. As far as story lines, I prefer this one to the previous Fly With Me and it has much to do with Becca. I just connected to her better. I mean, I’ve never experienced some of the things she went through, but her desire for stability? Yeah, I got that. There’s also something I admire about her for not giving in so easily to Thor’s return. She’s wrecked but she’s hanging in there, waiting it out instead of making rash decisions about her future. As for Thor, I have to say he recognizes where he screwed up in how he handled leaving but I also like that he didn’t apologize for something that he needed to do in order to grow into a better person. And as with all Chanel Cleeton's books, let's not fail to mention the steamy moments that can make readers blush! These two can turn up the heat and it's absolutely gratifying!  

If it's a gorgeous men in uniform fantasy you're looking to escape into then Into The Blue will definitely fulfill that for you. The Wild Aces romances feature adults who’ve gone through their wild stages and experienced life. Now it’s time to shift to the next phase. Speaking of - after the set up in the last two books, I cannot wait to hear Easy’s story next!

~ Bel

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