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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Deadly Obligations by Tamara McHatton

Deadly Obligations by Tamara McHatton
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (151 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A Green Beret captain, Garrett Jensen, has two great loves in is his career, the other is his family. The continual demands--and absences--as the commander of a Special Ops unit become too much for his wife, Catherine, and although she will always love him, she files for divorce, wanting a normal and safe life for their girls. But danger, wrapped in the guise of Garrett's latest assignment, strikes too close to home, and husband and wife must team up again, against the deadly drug underworld, in order to save their children. Their enemies are within, and without, but which is which is the ultimate question.

Garrett thought everything at home was just fine. He’d never been more wrong about anything in his life.

When Garrett came home from his latest assignment, he discovered his personal life was in shambles. Not only had his wife, Cathryn, filed for divorce, but she’d moved the kids out of the house they’d shared together. I felt Garrett’s pain and confusion as he walked through the rooms of his empty house. However, Cathryn had suffered a great deal in Garrett’s absence. I couldn’t help but wonder if Cathryn and Garrett would be able to see past the pain and find a way to work things out, or if their marriage would become another statistic.

Cathryn and Garrett are two of the most stubborn characters I’ve ever come across. They both have completely different views on their marriage and history together, and this causes frequent arguments. In fact, Garrett and Cathryn spend so much time fighting and lashing out at each other that it was a little hard to get into the story at first. I found myself taking breaks from reading Deadly Obligations because I needed to pull away from the intensity of the fights. The thing that kept me coming back to the book was my curiosity as to how things between them would turn out, and the hope for a happy ending.

I liked Garrett. He’s a strong, loyal, and passionate man, but I found myself shaking my head over his actions many times as I read. I admired his dedication to the military, but disliked the fact that he took his wife and children for granted. He assumes Cathryn and his daughters are fine while he’s away on missions, but it takes something as drastic as his wife filing for divorce to get his attention. Even when he learns of her plans, he arrogantly believes he can swoop in and smooth everything over. However, I was very pleased that Garrett lost a bit of his ego as the story progressed. Very gradually, he began to see things from Cathryn’s perspective and then he truly began to make up for lost time.

I admired many things about Cathryn. She’s a loving mother willing to do anything to protect her little girls. Even when she doesn’t feel strong, she makes sure that her girls are okay. She only cries behind closed doors. Though she suffered a terrible loss, Cathryn still manages to hold her life together. That sort of strength is hard to come by.

When Garrett and Cathryn stop fighting, they make a good team. After they learn their daughters have been kidnapped, they work together to bring them home. While it wasn’t exactly practical for Cathryn to be on such a dangerous mission, I’m glad she convinced Garrett to let her go. It gave her a chance to see the harsh reality of Garrett’s work and gave her some much needed insight into his character.

I must mention that I was not entirely happy with the way the story ended. I won’t spill the details, but I will say this: Garrett and Cathryn go through a lot of pain and turmoil throughout the story. In the last chapter of the book, they are finally on their way to finding some peace and happiness together. However, on the very last page something happens that could rip it all away again. Usually, I’m okay with an open ended conclusion, but after a book as intense as Deadly Obligations, this last minute twist felt unnecessary. I have to assume the author is planning a sequel, but it doesn’t make the ending easier to swallow.

Despite this issue, I thought Deadly Obligations was a good book. I liked Cathryn and Garrett, and I enjoyed watching them learn to work together and rediscover their romance. I recommend Deadly Obligations to anyone looking for an intense military themed suspense.