UNDER FIRE Scarlett Cole
Love Over Duty , Book 1
St. Martin's Press
ISBN-13:  978-1-250-12844-7
August 2017
Romantic Suspense

San Diego, California Present Day

Sixton Rapp is a Navy SEAL who has just gotten out of the service and is starting a new job with his two best SEAL friends, Mac and Cabe, at Eagle Securities.  They are still putting their offices together, but Cabe is already in Mexico on a child kidnapping case, and Mac and Six already have another case, security for a fancy fundraiser that night.  A piece of cake for these highly trained men, but it pays the bills.  That night, Sixton will meet someone he soon won't be able to forget, Dr. Louisa North.

A nervous Louisa gave her presentation at the fund raiser, and didn't even throw up after she finished.  Louisa is beyond shy; she is deathly afraid of being around people.  She drives to work and back early and late at night so there aren't so many people on the roads.  She wears long bangs so she doesn't have to look people in the face.  Luckily, she is a scientist working in a lab, and her focus is on discovering a cure for Huntington's disease which attacked her father before he committed suicide to end his pain.  She and her lab partner, who is the grandson of the lab's owner, have come up with one medicine they hoped would help the tremors, but it made the person unable to move.  Unfortunately, when she goes in the refrigerator she finds the vial of the drug missing, and so are all her notes on the computer and even the server.  Soon other vials are missing, and the owner of the lab, Vasilli, doesn't seem that upset.  But when she is almost kidnapped from her house, she remembers Six and his security company and hires them to find out what is happening.

Coming to Louisa's aid when she is being kidnapped is Six's worst nightmare.  The other men want him to stay away from her as they are now working for Louisa, but Six is totally unable to keep his hands off her.  Soon he realizes that his team was right. All he can think of is keeping her safe, and it seems wherever he takes Louisa to keep her safe, somehow different men keep finding her.  Meanwhile, the security company is getting more business, and it's hard to have all the operatives working to protect Louisa, leaving no one else to do the new work they must address to keep the business going.

There is categorically no better writer than Scarlett Cole for ratcheting up the conflict, anxiety, and heart palpitating thrills that she can.  The time she spends drawing the characters into our minds make them seem like special friends in danger.  Six is still antsy whenever loud sounds appear, and will more than likely drag Louisa to the floor with him.  Louisa, with her paralyzing shyness, somehow feels comfortable around Six, mainly because she knows he is stronger than she is, but he is also trying to come to terms with the leftovers of his SEAL service.

Secondary characters are Cabe and Mac, and soon other members of their new company.  All are highly trained professionals, but trying to keep Louisa alive soon proves to be a larger job than they figured.

UNDER FIRE is the first in the Love Over Duty series.  It starts off with a bang and never lets up in seeing who is after Louisa and how far they will go to get the formula for the drug they are searching for.  The situations frequently got so realistic that I had to walk away from the book to calm my beating heart, all over a shy woman and an ex-Seal, but the true-to-life situations grabbed me every time.  You also won't be able to wait until the next story, FINAL SIEGE (January 2018), so enjoy every minute of UNDER FIRE and see if Navy SEAL's aren't your favorite branch of the military!

Carolyn Crisher