Not a bad beginning to a new contemporary series by a well known author. I did have a few issues with it though.
Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget: his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After more than a decade away, Owen has returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe―and win her heart.
Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughmans again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, how much will she risk to stay with the only man she’s ever loved, in The Hero by New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
The Loughmans have had their share of tragedy but when another tragic event brings Owen and his brothers home to Texas, he finds himself face to face with Natalie Dixon, the woman he left behind and never got over. There’s no time for a reunion though because there are people who want them dead and will stop at nothing to get what they want from the Loughmans. Owen and Natalie are forced to work together in order to survive and get some answers.
As far as heroes go, Owen was a pretty good one. I liked that he was the kind of “In Charge” kind of guy to get things done BUT he wasn’t a jerk about it. He may have been the one with all the survival skills but he didn’t ignore Natalie’s obvious intelligence, nor did he make her feel like she was inferior to him because she was female. I think in the areas where Owen fell short is where Natalie was able to show her own set of skills. I did think that it was odd that he showed more emotion where Natalie was concerned
but not where his kidnapped father and murdered aunt and uncle were concerned.
Although given the history between the Loughmans, it probably explains why Owen is the way he is.
Speaking of Natalie I had a problem with a few things she did. First things first though, she was an intelligent woman, obviously because of where she worked and she didn’t lack for courage either because she took it upon herself several times to risk her life in order to help those she cared about. Those two traits are super important for a heroine BUT my issue with her came shortly after she and Owen meet up again at his ranch at the very beginning. While minor in the grand scheme of things, those choices didn’t make a good first impression.
She knew her life could be in danger because two people close to her had just been murdered, AND she was doing some mild investigating. Well guess what she does? She goes home to her own house essentially isolating herself away from Owen, his brothers, and Callie who all know what’s going on and are capable of protecting each other better as a unit. Sure enough, she’s tracked to her home and Owen and his brothers save her in the nick of time. While Owen is getting Natalie out of her home, it’s revealed that she’s wearing… Get this, a silk nightgown! Really girlfriend? You KNOW there’s a chance you’ll have to fight and/or run for your life and you not only paint a big ole target on your back with your investigating but you lessen your chance of survival by being home ALONE and in a skimpy outfit that was really just there for eye candy and a chance to turn the hero on. Ugh, not cool, it made her seem like she lacked common sense.
I will say that while I liked Natalie, I wish she had had more of an active part in the action sequences. I mean her life IS being threatened you’d think she wouldn’t depend on Owen always being there to save her and instead ask him to give her a crash course on how to fight. Then again, Owen could have also taken it upon himself to insist that Natalie learn in case he couldn’t be there to protect her.
I do believe that the strongest part of The Hero has to be the suspense, action, and mystery. I personally loved how not everything was revealed in this book because frankly as I hit the halfway mark in the book it became very clear that the conflict was much bigger than just one book can handle. I’m very okay with that, or at least I’m very okay with the way Donna Grant set it up. I would have felt cheated if everything wrapped up all nice and neat in a bow by the end. There’s just too much that can be grown and developed over the next few books to ignore. I do think the transition from one couple (Owen and Natalie) to the next could have been handled a bit better. Instead it felt like they were in a team race and once Owen and Natalie ran the first lap they handed it off to Cullen to take over from there.
The IS one downside to having so much attention on the fast paced action though, and that’s that the romance suffered a bit. There’s hardly any downtime for Owen and Natalie to really reconnect and get to know each other again. They hadn’t seen each other in FOURTEEN YEARS, you can’t tell me that nothing changed since then because it had and I feel that the book just overlooked that which in turn made me feel like the romance took a real back seat and wasn’t as developed or believable as it could have been.
Final Verdict: The Hero is a good start to a series. It had its bumps and “Huh” moments but overall it was enjoyable. I will say I’m looking forward to Wyatt’s story.
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