The Specialistby Rhonda Nelson
The second of Rhonda Nelson’s Men Out of Uniform (see The Player), The Specialist was well worth the wait. Brian Payne is The Specialist, planner of the group’s missions, including the one that went wrong and ended in his friend Danny’s death. Brian’s guilt over this pushes him to leave the military – in exchange for granting his Colonel one favor. Colonel Garrett wants a pocketwatch supposedly owned by Robert E. Lee’s father, so he sends Payne to Gettysburg to find it. Payne feels that this is a waste of his time, but agrees to one week. Upon arrival he meets Emma Langsford who, unknown to him, is also looking for the watch. This little spitfire gets under his skin in ways that make him uncomfortable. His family life was not conducive to long-lasting relationships, so he isn’t about to let her get through to him.
Sent by her former commanding officer, Colonel Hastings, to find the pocketwatch, Emma is nervous about coming up against The Specialist. This formidable opponent with the ice blue eyes had a reputation for being good at what he did so Emma knew she had a challenge ahead of her. Emma had left the military to help take care of her dying grandfather. His death left her and her mother in debt over health care costs. To keep from losing their home, Emma works two jobs, tabling her dream of going to veterinary school on the back burner. Colonel Hastings’ offer of money for the job would solve those problems. Determined to get to the pocketwatch first, she never considered falling for the cynical Payne.
I loved the humor in this book, the feisty heroine and the cool hero. Their banter reminded me of the best of Spencer and Hepburn. And of course, this wouldn't be a Blaze without scintillating sex and Rhonda rights great sex scenes. Hot, hot, hot. I give this book 4 Amazon stars – there was one problem that kept pulling me out of the story. Emma’s surname kept changing. It started out as Langsford, then her mother’s last name was Evans – which caused me to go back and look at Emma’s name again. No mention was made of her mother having kept her maiden name upon marrying Emma’s father, John Edward Langston – yes, Langston. Later Emma is referred to as Emma Langston, and then back to Langsford. Once I got past this mistake in editing I was able to immerse myself into the story. It won’t be a problem the second time I read the book – and I will read this one again and again. I can’t wait for Guy’s story in The Maverick, coming out in October.
Edit: For some reason I can't get the wonderful cover for this book to load, so if you want to see it click the links.
UPDATE: 2007 RITA for Best Short Contemporary Romance Finalist