Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: 'The Player' by Rhonda Russell

Alabama author Rhonda Russell (aka Rhonda Nelson) is a highly awarded writer of hot romantic comedy. With forty-five books to her credit she is a New York Times best-selling author, two-time RITA nominee, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee, and National Readers' Choice Award Winner. She and her husband live on a 166-acre farm in the middle of nowhere in a small town in Northern Alabama near the banks of the Tennessee River.

Under her belt as Rhonda Russell is the highly popular MEN OUT OF OUNIFORM Series, of which THE PLAYER is Book 1 – and if this initial foray is an indication of the quality of the entire series, then scoop them up quickly. AS Rhonda phrases it, ‘The founding members of Ranger Security hit all the right notes when it comes to hero material. They’re hot. They’re smart. They have a strong sense of duty, loyalty and honor. And when these former military [guys] meet the right woman, they’re even more formidable.’

Rhonda has a keen ear for military terminology and tactics and proves that with a bit from her Prologue: ‘He knew perfectly well they understood what was going on. They hadn’t been handpicked for Project Chameleon--a special forces unit so secretive that there was absolutely no evidence of its existence in any military file computer-generated or otherwise--because they were stupid. Garrett suppressed a grimace. In fact, they were too damned smart, which had made trying to get them to rethink leaving the Army with the usual methods--re-upping bonuses, flattery, better posts, etc…--useless. Unfortunately guilt had a better grasp on them than any form of greed--feeling responsible for the death of a close friend would do that. Through no wrongdoing on their own part, Project Chameleon had lost one of its own during its last mission, and so far, no amount of lecturing and reviewing what had happened could convince them otherwise. They went in as four and came out as three.’

The synopsis distills the tale well – ‘If there's anything better than a man in uniform, then it's a man OUT of it. After former Ranger Jamie Flanagan's last mission went tragically wrong, he and his equally hot Ranger friends needed to get out of the military. After an off-base brawl results in a hang up of their clearance papers, their commanding officer offers them a way out without incident. But it's going to cost them a favor. A big one. Now gorgeous Jamie is a top security agent in their newly minted firm, Ranger Security...and the ultimate player. When the Colonel calls in his particular favor, no one is more surprised than Jamie to discover that he's been tapped to protect his former commanding officer's favorite granddaughter. But he soon learns that he and the Colonel have completely different ideas of what that "protection" looks like...’

Well written with an undertone of comic relief and an overtone of erotica, THE PLAYER works. Fine start to a fine series. Grady Harp, February 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.