The second book in Catherine Mann’s Wingmen Warriors series is not only a wonderful chance of catching up with characters first introduced in Grayson’s Surrender but it is also another chance of experiencing the superb storytelling talent of one of 2002 brightest new stars in category romance writing. Taking Cover brings us Captain Tanner “Bronco” Bennett and Captain Kathleen O’Connell’s story.
When Tanner experiences excruciating back pains during his latest mission as a copilot, he is forced to see the flight surgeon, the woman he has had the hots for since their first meeting years ago, he proves to be a difficult patient. “Luck” has it that others witness their less than friendly encounter. Reason enough for them to be send on TDY (temporary duty) — together — to investigate a C-17 accident in the California desert.
To be considered by the Squadron Commander to be upgraded from copilot to aircraft commander, Tanner has to prove he can form an unproblematic working relationship with Kathleen. Not an easy thing to do for a guy that is happy-go-lucky and not averse to bending the rules. Especially when under the supervision of one very seductive doctor and advocate of regulations.
Kathleen in turn struggles with her need to regain her professionalism to secure her promotion to Major. Being in constant contact and in close quarters with Tanner, certain boundaries need to be established. The risk of a repeat performance of their one explosive encounter — one unforgettable kiss — twelve years ago is growing dangerously. But how to stay detached from a guy that is honorable, with an easy smile and kisses that promise a flight to the stars — even when it comes with a protective streak that rubs her the wrong way?
Catherine Mann is not easy on her characters. She gives them plenty of baggage to lug around. However, what I like about her characters is that they might be damaged but never broken. They are fighters who are not afraid to go after what they want and need.
Once more she has created characters that leave me no option but to share their laughter, their tears and their love. Yes, I did have tears running down my face, not because I was sad but because I was touched by their compassionate natures. A nature that in Tanner’s case left me no other way but fall passionately in love with him. In two very special scenes, that still bring the tears to my eyes, he presents Kathleen with a gift that is worth more than anything imaginable. And those scenes alone nominate him worthy of one of 2002’s most desirable romance heroes.
I do need to compare Ms Mann to my favorite military romance author, Suzanne Brockmann. Not just for the obvious reason of delivering with her Wingmen Warriors, a fascinating military hero SIM series, but also for how Ms Mann shows the same care for her characters and for their heroism without placing them on an unreachable pedestal. Here is an author that delivers what she promises - flights of passion, danger and a very satisfying romance. I couldn’t ask for better, but I’m definitely asking for more - and in 2003 Catherine Mann is sure to deliver!