Saturday, February 21, 2009

True Devotion by Dee Henderson

True Devotion

True Devotion
by Dee Henderson

Trade Paperback: 327 pages
Publisher: Multnomah
First Released: 2000

Author Website

Source: Library

Description from Back Cover:
She was going to drown...

Lifeguard Kelly Jacobs watched the sun go down and knew time for her rescue was running out. The naval base glittered in the fading light, like a jewel she could not reach. The sea surged and pulled, stinging her with cold.

Until he came.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Joe "Bear" Baker plucked Kelly from the raging sea when she had nearly given up hope. She'd known he would come--he was her best friend--and she clung for all she was worth to the safe haven found in his arms.

Then she said the wrong thing...

Kelly had already paid the ultimate price of loving a warrior. She had the folded flag and the grateful thanks of a nation to prove it. She didn't dare risk loving another man in uniform. But held close in Joe's arms, Kelly said the wrong thing, and their friendship suddenly hung in the balance.

Now they're both in danger.

The man who killed Kelly's husband is back and closer than either Kelly or Joe realize. They're about to discover that God is a refuge, because this time there may be no rescue...

This romantic suspense novel was a fast read. The characters were honorable, interesting, and engaging. I cared what happened to them, even to the 'bad' guy. The heroine is just as strong (in the non-physical sense) as the hero. Though Kelly is rescued by Joe, her own actions go a long way to making that rescue possible. (As in, the smart heroine doesn't do something extremely stupid and then stand helpless and in danger just so the hero can rescue her.)

The obstacles to the romance were realistic ones based on Kelly and Joe's past history with each other (rather than the artificial "if they'd just talk about it" misunderstanding variety).

Both Kelly and Joe are Christians and their faith is integral to their lives, but the book never gets preachy. It explores their struggles with their faith, specifically why God allowed Kelly's husband (who is also Joe's best friend) to die and Joe live.

The details about SEALs, their missions, and what their wives go through when they're on mission were very interesting and immersed me into their world.

There was some kissing, but no sex. I don't recall any cussing. Overall, I'd recommend this as "a good, clean fun" novel.

Excerpt: Chapter One
They were going to drown.

Kelly Jacobs could already see the headline on the front page of the weekly Coronado Eagle newspaper: "Riptide Kills Teen and Lifeguard." The cold water had her by the throat. Six minutes had passed since she'd last seen the boy bobbing in the swells, and they were being pulled out to sea at a horrifying clip.

She had a lifetime of experience in the Pacific waters off San Diego, numerous rescues, but nothing like this. The water in early May, warmer than usual from La Nina, was still only sixty-seven degrees, cold enough to induce hypothermia. The swells dropped her four feet down in the troughs. If she didn't find the boy soon she wouldn't have the ability to get them back to shore. And this was a big ocean for a search party to cover in the dark--to her left the sun had already set and twilight was fading fast.

The riptide created by the conflux of ocean currents and the outgoing tide had formed late in the day with an explosive suddenness. When conditions changed, the riptide would fade as abruptly as it had formed, but whether it lasted a few hours or a day would not matter in the end. It was already on the verge of becoming deadly.

The fear of what was coming overwhelmed her. This fight to reach the boy was turning into a personal life-and-death struggle. The saltwater burned her throat and sent her gasping as another wave caught her in midbreath. To give up the attempted rescue to save herself, to let the boy drown-- It had been years since she had cared about something this much. She wasn't going to give up, and she wasn't going to fail.

Kelly strained to find a way to work with the waves rather than against them. The boy was here, somewhere near, and she was going to reach him. She thought about her husband as she fought the cold sea. Nick, did you die because you drowned? The Navy had never told her.

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