Rescue Me by Lara Van Hulzen
Publisher & Release Date: Self-published, November 3, 2015
Time and setting: Present Day, Lake Tahoe
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Inspirational
Length: 181 pages
Heat Level: 1 Sweet Heart
Rating: 4 Gold Crowns
Keith is a soldier with a wounded heart.
Torie’s secrets haunt her.
Can they trust love enough to mend what’s broken?
Torie Walker is a police officer with a past she’d like to stay hidden from. Staying at her best friend’s cabin in the mountains over Christmas is just what she needs. However, when a handsome cowboy saunters into her life, she takes the risk and trusts him with her secrets.
Keith Scott is a United States Marine. Home for the holidays, he intends to spend a quiet Christmas with his family. What he doesn’t plan on is Torie Walker, a woman who mends his heart and makes him want to love again.
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He bent down and picked up the book she’d dropped and handed it to her. “Here you go.” He looked at the cover. “Historical fiction? Hmmm, I’d see you more as a True Crime kind of girl.”
She smiled, her heart rate slowed, returning to normal. “One would think so, right? But no, I get enough of that at work.”
He nodded at shoved his hands in his jean pockets. “Makes sense now that you say it. People always think I’d want a military book to escape. Not sure how they figure that, but they mean well.” Sadness flashed in his eyes for a moment then was gone. Torie could only imagine what he’d seen and done as a soldier. The idea of Keith in harm’s way made her stomach turn. She shivered at the thought of the danger he faced in his job.
“Are you cold? They have fresh coffee here. It’s good too.” He winked at her.
She shook her head. “Um, no thanks. I’m good. I’m jumpy as it is, apparently. No more caffeine for me.”
He smiled. “What kind of book are you looking for if you don’t read military?”
“Well, I know it’s sort of stereotypical, but I like old westerns. Louis L’Amour, that kind of thing.” He leaned towards her and whispered, “And sometimes I like Science Fiction. But let’s keep that between us.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” Torie whispered back. She couldn’t help but soak in the irony of this enormous mountain of a man whispering like a little boy about his secret love of Science Fiction. Keith was living proof that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. His cover was enticing and the inside story was something she definitely wanted to read more about.
He stood straight again. “I’m here today though looking for a book for my mom for Christmas.”
“Oh, that’s nice. What does she like to read?”
He frowned. “Romance novels.”
Torie laughed out loud. The woman working behind the desk gave them a look but then continued with her task.
“Hey now. I didn’t say I was reading them.”
“I know.” Torie couldn’t stop laughing. “I’m just picturing you standing in front of the romance novel section of a store and getting some . . . stares.” But mainly because he belonged on a cover. She didn’t add that last part, of course, but her brain sure went there. Keith without a shirt on had to be romance novel worthy. Her cheeks warmed at the thought. “I don’t know much about that genre but Aimee reads them all the time. I could try and help you pick some for your mom.” The relief that washed over his features was priceless. This fierce warrior in front of her wound up tighter than a drum over picking a book had her laughing again.
“What? Why are you laughing again?”
“Nothing. I think it’s nice, actually, that you would go to such lengths of discomfort to get your mom a Christmas gift.”
He smiled and looked at his boots. “Yeah, well . . .”
Ah, a rough exterior with a soft, gooey center. Keith was becoming more and more appealing by the minute.
When I was offered the chance to read Rescue Me in exchange for an honest review, the book description intrigued me. I enjoy inspirational novels and this sounded like it would be different than what is the norm for that sub-genre. I thoroughly enjoyed Rescue Me.
Torie Walker is on Christmas vacation from her job as a police officer in San Diego. She’s come to Lake Tahoe to stay at her best friend’s cabin while Aimee is on her honeymoon. She met Aimee’s brother-in-law, Keith Scott, several months earlier. When he shows up at her cabin to check on her, she feels drawn to him in a way that has never happened before.
Home on leave from the United States Marines, Keith finds the tall, slender Torie entrancing, but he’s had his heart broken in the past. With his dangerous job, he believes he needs to stay out of a relationship. As they spend time together, he begins to question that decision, especially after she opens up and tells him her secrets.
Can two emotionally wounded people learn to open their hearts to each other, and find the wonderful plan God has for them, or will they allow fear to stand in the way?
This is a sweet, emotionally-charged romance that gently unfolds as Torie and Keith learn to trust each other. The pacing is nice and steady, and it kept my interest from start to finish. While this is a faith based love story, both characters believe from the start, so their faith is sprinkled in a bit at a time with a reference to reading their bible and turning to prayer. I enjoyed that part of the story a great deal.
Torie’s character is troubled from events she had no control over as a child. Those events make it very difficult to allow someone into her life. Other than her best friend, she’s a loner because she has never had anyone she could depend on before she meets Keith.
Keith is a wonderful hero. He is dedicated to his faith, a considerate son, and a loyal friend. His heart was broken by his ex-wife, so at first, he has a hard time trusting that Torie is the right woman for him. As they spend time together each day during the Christmas season, he is able to see the caring person Torie is, and that it’s worth taking a risk. His attraction to her is more tender than sensual as I would expect in an inspirational novel.
I did have one minor problem with the book. Personally, I would have liked more information concerning Keith’s role with the Marines. It seemed like he spent all his time in between missions helping out on his parent’s ranch. I’m thinking he would have regular duties when not involved in a covert operation. He has his own home there. It could be that his base was nearby, which would allow him to be home a lot. That just wasn’t mentioned in the book.
Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable read for the holidays, and I am glad I read it. I liked all the characters in Rescue Me, and plan to read the other books in this series. Happy reading!
Lara Van Hulzen received her BA in Journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University in 1994. Her first published article was when she was a senior in high school. She has worked as a book reviewer for the past 18 years with various organizations such as Crossings Doubleday, YouthWorker Journal, and Radian Lit. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Inspired Christian Writers, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband three children in Northern California.