Sunday, February 4, 2018

Off the Leash by M.L. Buchman (review)

Off the Leash 
White House Protection Force, Book 1
M.L. Buchman


The White House Protection Force Saves the Day! Come meet the behind-the-scenes specialists who keep our White House safe—even while they lose their hearts.

White House Chocolatier Clive Andrews takes pride in the subliminal messages hidden in his State Dinner showstoppers. But there’s more than sensual sweets at risk when his heart begins to melt.

Sergeant Linda Hamlin left the Army after a decade of service. As the newest member of the U.S. Secret Service K-9 Team she expected flak. She didn’t expect to be paired with a misfit mutt named Thor. Together they face down bombers, master spies, and a teenage genius.

All of which might be manageable, if not for the handsome chocolatier who teaches her that a little indulgence can be a very good thing.

 Amazon link

Author Bio:

M.L. Buchman started the first of over 50 novels and as many short stories while flying from South Korea to ride across the Australian Outback. All part of a solo around-the-world bicycle trip (a mid-life crisis on wheels) that ultimately launched his writing career.
Booklist has selected his military and firefighter series(es) as 3-time “Top 10 Romance of the Year.” NPR and Barnes & Noble have named other titles “Top 5 Romance of the Year.” In 2016 he was a finalist for RWA's RITA award. He has flown and jumped out of airplanes, can single-hand a fifty-foot sailboat, and has designed and built two houses. In between writing, he also quilts. M.L. is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics. He also writes: contemporary romance, thrillers, and SF. More info at his website.

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My review:

5 out of 5 stars

Off the Leash by M.L. Buchman is the first story in the ‘White House Protection Force’ series and introduces ex-Ranger Sergeant Linda Hamlin as she tries out for the Secret Service’s canine team. White House chocolatier Clive Andrews is an unexpected observer to her initial trial and their subsequent encounters deepen their relationship until their goals diverge. Finding a way to deal with the danger to her charges and her heart will take ingenuity, determination, and assistance from both four-footed and two-footed allies, she just has to be smart enough to accept the aid that is given.

This romantic suspense novella is a delicious addition to a series of novellas that give unique insights into those who serve in the White House. This particular story was really fun for me both because it focuses on the chocolatier Clive Andrews (and I was fascinated by the glimpses of this position and the delightful Advent calendar seen in “Daniel’s Christmas”) AND it includes the various canine teams that are responsible for security. I love this author’s stories because they vividly depict aspects of security that are not something I know anything about and they feature larger-than-life folks with incredible responsibilities who manage to find love, help protect those in high places, and blend danger, romance, and humor.

This is the beginning of a new series about the canine teams that protect the White House. Even better, it connects this group with the Henderson’s Ranch folks, since this particular story features a dog trained by ex-SEAL Stan Corman. I love the underestimated ‘floppy-eared’ canines with their specialized training and brilliance that is balanced by their love of play. It was great to have cameos by some of the key figures in the ‘Night Stalkers’ series and the effervescent Dilya was a great foil for Linda. The enigmatic Ms. Watson and her surprising secrets is a wonderful element to this story and I hope to see more of her in future stories, and yum, the elegant use of chocolate and the new terms I learned such as couverture were a definite bonus (although I needed my own chocolate fix before I was done!). I adore the bond between the canine and handler and I can’t wait to read about more of these fantastic teams.

A copy of this delicious title was provided to me for review

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