Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/14/joint-review-covert-seduction-by-callie-croix/
MinnChica: I first discovered Croix through her alter-ego Kaylea Cross. When I heard she was going to start writing erotic romance through the Callie Croix name, I knew I would have to track down her smutty stories and read them all. I love her military heroes, and her strong heroines. Add in a dash of suspense and lots of smut, and her books are some of my favorite novella erotic reads.
E: I discovered Croix through a certain MinnChica after she arm twisted me into reading Cross for a joint review. Then we ended up doing a joint review of a Croix book, Let Me In, which I enjoyed but I had a few issues with the heroine. So when I saw this title on Netgalley and read the blurb I had to give it a try and I am glad that I did. Over a short period of time she provided suspense, smutty goodness, a strong woman asking for what she wants and a strong man finding the courage to give it to her.
MinnChica: I think I enjoyed this story more than some of Croix’s other erotic novellas, because it seemed to read like a longer book. With her previous Carina Press stories, they each read very quickly, but this story seemed to read like a longer book. I really enjoyed both Becca and Reid, they were both the kind of characters I’ve come to expect from Croix. Reid was a strong and dominate hero who lived up to the military stereotype. And Becca was great as well, strong in her own right and I loved that she made Reid work to gain her trust again.
E: This did feel like a complete story which I certainly enjoyed. I could see Reid’s viewpoint and how he wanted to keep Becca separate from the bad parts of his life deployed. He also trying to deal with a rather traumatic event, his survivor guilt, and the desire to make sure it didn’t happen again. Reid’s job was that of a protector and his protectiveness was not limited to just his job but also people back home. On the flipside Becca was not willing to sit back and wait for Reid to decide he could make time for her. In her mind they had not established any commitment so his lack of communication, especially after she had taken the risk of sending him a rather descriptive email of one of her fantasy’s, meant that she was out of sight and therefore out of mind. Just like MinnChica, I absolutely loved that she made Reid work to get her back. Reid had to learn that just because he had committed in his mind, he had to make sure that Becca was aware of that decision and that he maintained their connection.
MinnChica: I loved getting to see the flip side of both Reid and Becca’s view of their relationship. While, like E, I could see where Reid was coming from with wanting to keep his deployment separate from Becca, I wanted to smack him just a little for not letting her in. While I’m not delusional to think the love of a good woman could cure him, but there is something to be said for having someone to lean on, to trust and to rely on when times get tough. I wanted him to have a little more faith in her and them, instead of pushing her and their relationship to the backseat. I also liked getting to see Becca struggle with not knowing anything about whether or not Reid was safe. Croix did a wonderful job of showing just how frustrating this can be not knowing ANYTHING about the well being of a loved one stationed overseas. While both Reid and Becca were no where close to perfect, their relationship and characters were real and true. I loved that!
E: I completely understood the frustration about not knowing if Reid was alive or not but I also know there is an ingrained need to try to keep the ones you care about protected from harm. It is a delicate balancing act between saying too much and not saying enough. Reid was on the not saying enough side and he needed to learn that complete silence does not work. Once he realized that issue I really liked the intense focus he placed on Becca and trying to get her to understand where he thought they were going. I also liked the snapshots of interaction he had with his Teammates because I could completely see that in action. I think one of Croix’s strengths is showing her characters through their interaction with others because I get a more rounded sense of them flaws and all.
MinnChica: One of the other things I really enjoyed about this story was the mini suspense plot. Usually with novella’s, the sub-plot tends to fall short. However, I thought that Croix did an amazing job balancing the suspense and the romance and the smut. I really enjoyed how it didn’t fall to the wayside, or feel as if that part of the story was an afterthought.
All in all I really enjoyed this novella. I loved Reid and Becca both, thought they were really relatable characters who were devoted to making their relationship work. Add in the super sexy smutty times and I was sold on all aspects of this story. Croix has also done an incredible job writing a novella that feels like a big story in all aspects, I can’t tell you how much that increases my reading experience.
I give Covert Seduction a B+
E: I really enjoyed how Croix was able to give me the complete story feel in a novella. Between the connections the characters had, their struggle towards a HEA, and just the fundamental differences between men and women, military and civilians and I knew this was a romance to enjoy. Throw in the intense smutty times and I didn’t come up for air until I was finished reading. I think with this installment Croix has made my must read pile.
I give Covert Seduction a B+