Scarlett Cole begins her new Love Over Duty series with a shy scientist, a loyal Navy SEAL turned security expert and a chemical conspiracy.
Sixton “Six” Rapp is fresh out of the service and ready to join his Navy SEAL brothers in opening a security firm. It’s a dream they’ve been planning for years, and he’s anxious to get Eagle Securities off the ground. His first job running security at a fundraiser is rather tame, but what he doesn’t know is that it will lead to a larger and more dangerous case. At the fundraiser, he meets Dr. Louisa “Lou” North, a scientist spearheading the crusade to find a cure for Huntington’s disease. As Lou begins noticing odd things happening at her lab—samples missing, notes misplaced—she turns to Six for guidance, because she’s realized her research for a miracle drug could be turned into a chemical weapon.
Though Six is a gun-toting, tough-as-nails Navy SEAL, there’s a tenderness to him that keeps him from veering into the typical overbearing alpha-hero territory. He cares for his brothers in arms. He’s earnest in how much he wants to help Lou. He also isn’t afraid to admit his growing feelings for the introverted scientist, even after she becomes one of Eagle Securities’ first clients. There’s really nothing not to like about Six.
Lou is a woman held captive by a lot of things in life. Her father died of Huntington’s, a disease passed genetically. Lou also has a debilitating fear of people and crowds, and turns to extreme bouts of organizing and straightening objects during times of stress. But she doesn’t let it stop her from devoting her life to important medical work or from buckling down when it becomes clear her life is in danger.
As a couple, Six and Lou complement each other incredibly well. Six is patient and understanding of Lou’s phobias. There’s a touching moment where he gets their meal to go, so they can eat in the privacy of his truck bed rather than have Lou’s anxiety skyrocket in a busy restaurant. Lou isn’t ashamed of her fears or the way she copes with stress, which she hopes will bolster Six’s commitment to treating his undiagnosed PTSD. They’re truly a perfect match.
Under Fire is a wonderful example of what a romantic suspense novel should be: tense action, strong characters and love in the midst of danger. It’s also a fantastic start to a brand new series by Cole, one that will have readers devouring Under Fire and eager to start the series’ continuation, Final Siege.