3.5 "All Parts of Me Salute All Parts of You" Stars
Okay, I should probably be upfront about the fact that I consumed almost an entire bottle of wine while reading Kendall McKenna’s Fire for Effect
(what?! Don’t look at me like you’ve never done it!), and my recollections of what I liked/didn’t like about it may be a tad… compromised. ;)
The story in a nutshell: Two years after the events in Afghanistan brought Jonah and Kellan back together, the couple is struggling to maintain a bi-coastal relationship and figure out how to balance their personal lives with the demands of their equally high-powered careers. So when Kellan is asked to form a team to investigate the possible denial of Medals of Honour to worthy candidates on the basis of their race, gender, and/or sexual orientation, he jumps at the opportunity to make Jonah his military liaison. What neither of them realizes is that the investigation is about to draw them back to Afghanistan and right into the middle of a deadly firefight. Only this time, the couple has a lot more to lose...
This time around the story is told from Kellan’s perspective, so we get to know the former Marine much better than we did in Brothers in Arms
. Equal parts shrewd, serious, and diplomatic, he’s my favourite kind of alpha male (all sexy and authoritative). I love that he’s a straight-shooter and that he doesn’t take crap from anyone. I mean, when he gave the Secretary of Defense that verbal smackdown for calling him by his first name…? Instant panty dropper.
My favourite thing about this story was the chance to see how Jonah and Kellan’s relationship has developed since the last book. Interestingly, even after two years together the guys still seem a little unsure of where they stand with one another. Though I was surprised at this, I also thought the glimpses of vulnerability and humour this allowed for were incredibly sweet. I just about melted on the spot during this part:"I could make it easy and just take orders at Quantico or somewhere in D.C." Again, Jonah looked everywhere but at Kellan.
"But you love California," Kellan blurted out.
"No, I like California," Jonah replied, pushing food around his plate. "I love you."
Kellan stopped breathing his blood thundered in his ears.
The fact that Kellan is floored by Jonah’s declaration is so friggin’ adorable! I just wish that there had been more
of these moments in the story that make my heart flutter (I had the same complaint with McKenna’s last novel). I’m sure other readers will be pleased with the balance between the story’s drama and romance, but…. I’m just a marshmallow and I want what I want. *shrugs* Sue me.
I loved the premise of this novel and thought that McKenna did a great job developing a solid plot that’s grounded in a very real current issue. It is
shameful how few men and women who have served in the Armed Forces in the last decade have been acknowledge for their acts of bravery and sacrifice (and if someone isn’t
looking into this yet, they should be!). But as much as I personally support the author’s viewpoint, I’m the first to say that the level of detail she went into regarding the investigation caused the middle of the story to drag a little.
Gotta say, though, McKenna sure knows how to end a story with a bang. Between the action of the ambush, the post-near death experience sexy times, and the Senate hearing in which you knew heads were going to roll, I was quite pleased. Quite pleased, indeed.
Verdict: Though Fire for Effect
wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was a pretty darned good novella. And I’ve got to hand it to the author; she certainly managed to pack a whole lot of story into those 100 pages! Totally worthy of a 3.5-star rating.