Aug 29 2017 8:30am

First Look: Dawn Ryder’s Take to the Limit (August 29, 2017)

Take to the Limit by Dawn Ryder

Dawn Ryder
Take to the Limit (Unbroken Heroes #4)
St. Martin's Press / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital

Sometimes in life, we don’t get it right the first time around. Neil Armstrong would’ve never walked on the moon if Pioneer 4 hadn’t made it past Earth’s orbit. The world would’ve never experienced the pleasure of ice cream if refrigeration hadn’t been invented. And Bram Magnus would never have fallen in love with Jaelyn if he hadn’t snuck a kiss.

Kisses …” She closed the gap between them, captivating him with the way her hips swayed. She stepped up to him and settled her hands on his chest. “… aren’t meant to be one-sided.”

Taken to the Limit is a dichotomy. On the one hand, it’s a story of retribution for Rick Sullivan, left to die in a filthy prison with a hatred burning in his gut for “members of the Shadow ops team that had taken down the Raven.” It’s also a creepy stalker story, centering on a guy named Gideon who worked with Bram’s team at Cobra Fire Base, Afghanistan.

When Bram shipped out for duty, he brought with him a photo of Jaelyn and her sister, LeAnn. He and LeAnn had been hooking up casually for a while, though it was Jaelyn he really wanted. The night before shipping out to Afghanistan, he discovered LeAnn cheating on him and finally gave into temptation with Jaelyn … their kiss rocked his world. But Bram wasn’t the only person affected by this new attraction.

“You got a girlfriend?”

Communications Specialist Gideon had a hopeful gleam in his eyes. He waited for Magnus to answer with an intensity that was slightly edgy. His eyes brightened but otherwise he held perfectly still, like he was setting a trap and waiting for the right moment to pounce.

“I got a girl.”

“Yeah?”Gideon hit his knee and leaned closer. “Can I see her picture? Blonde or brunette?”

Creepy. Creepy and crazy often go hand-in-hand, and these guys have it in spades. Rick Sullivan is shrewd and determined to destroy the men who imprisoned him, and thrilled to help Gideon grab the object of his obsession: Jaelyn. It’s like a partnership made in hell. After all, why waste all his payback energy chasing after Bram when grabbing Jaelyn would bring the fight directly to him? So they grabbed Jaelyn and bolted.

How do you know what I was doing?” Gideon demanded.

Ricky took a drag off the cigarette in his hand and offered it across the space between them. Gideon gave in and took it, inhaling deeply so that the tip glowed red.

“I saw you follow them in the park,” he said, chuckling.“But only because I was doing the same. You’ve got good taste, my man.”

Peppered in with the retribution and stalking is the practical problem of Bram falling for the sister of his ex-side piece. You just know that’s not going to be an easy transition. Most people have a come-to-Jesus moment at some point in their life, I think, and LeAnn’s was after Jaelyn was kidnapped. She finally comes clean about trying to sabotage the relationship by hiding the love letters Bram sent to her sister while he was deployed. Because, while LeAnn wasn’t necessarily interested in waiting around for him to become the love of her life, neither did she intend for her sister to be the focus of Bram’s love and affection.

“This isn’t about me, it’s about the fact that you don’t trust my sister’s feelings for you because I stole your letters.”

“His what?” Jaelyn asked in a horrified whisper.

“Letters,” LeAnn answered.“And I didn’t do it out of love. I was jealous and being childishly vindictive. A real girlfriend wouldn’t have done it, even if she was heartbroken. So, I’m sorry.”

Love is a powerful force. From the immortal words of Sting, “Love can mend your life, but love can break your heart.” For Bram, just the promise of love gave him hope.

Jaelyn kept him alive. She was the water for the dried-out parts of his soul. Without her, he’d watch that last part of his civilized personality evaporate and drive off into the sand surrounding him.

Life is hard. Love shouldn’t have to be.


Learn more about or order a copy of Take to the Limit by Dawn Ryder, available now:

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Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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