Uniformly Hot (Book 63)
Subject: Petty Officer Christian "Cowboy" Laramie
Mission: Locate a missing person…without seducing the man's fiancée!
Navy SEAL Christian Laramie knows everything about explosives, including how to avoid them. But he sure as hell isn't prepared for Sammi Jo Wilson -- all gorgeous red hair and long-legged sexiness -- in a wedding dress, asking him to find her kidnapped fiancé. Yep, he is definitely dealing with one dangerous bombshell…
Laramie has a rep for thoroughly pleasing the ladies, but he's not interested in emotional entanglements. He has rules -- and engaged women are a definite no-no. Yet the searing heat between him and Sammi is like nothing he's ever experienced. Each touch gets hotter. Each kiss more intense. And if Laramie can't disarm this desire, it will blow up in the only way possible…in bed!
Good book. Laramie has gone home on his yearly visit, to hide out in his childhood cabin and rest and recharge. He's looking forward to peace and quiet and being left alone. He does not expect to have his childhood friend Sammi Jo show up and ask for his help finding her kidnapped fiance. Every instinct he has tells him to send her away, but he just can't do it.
I started out not being particularly fond of either Laramie or Sammi Jo. Laramie has a well-known reputation with the ladies. He sleeps with many of them, leaves them smiling and satisfied, and forgets them as soon as he does. He absolutely avoids allowing any kind of emotion to be involved. His attitude has been influenced by his memories of his parents' relationship and he wants no part of that. My initial impression of Sammi Jo was that she had no backbone at all. She worked hard to overcome the stigma of how she grew up, but now she is overly concerned with appearances. She is the assistant manager at a hotel owned by her fiance's father. She has been trying to become the manager, but her efforts are ignored by him. She became engaged to Sterling because his father wanted it, not because she loves him. It is now three weeks until the wedding and all her preferences are being overruled by him and the wedding planner he hired. She doesn't fight for any of the things she wants. To top it all off, there are rumors that Sterling is cheating on her and she simply accepts it. When she gets a call from Sterling telling her that he's been kidnapped and asking her not to tell anyone, she can't just let it go. So she goes to Laramie to ask for his help.
From the moment they see each other again, the sparks between them are hot. Sammi Jo is surprised, because she's never felt like this with anyone else, especially Sterling. She's always assumed that she doesn't have what it takes to have the sexy feelings that other women talk about. Discovering that Laramie does it for her is quite a shock. Laramie is stunned by the strength of his reaction to Sammi Jo. That has never happened to him before and he isn't so sure that he likes it. He also has a rule about getting involved with women who are taken, and she should definitely be off limits.
Though she is still engaged to Sterling, Sammi Jo can't resist her attraction to Laramie. I would have found this disturbing, except that she quickly realized that marrying Sterling was no longer an option. She simply couldn't end the engagement until she could see him again. I liked seeing the way that she and Laramie spent a lot of time talking and learning about each other. Laramie's treatment of her went a long way toward enabling her to find the backbone that has been missing for so long. I also enjoyed seeing Laramie's transformation from playboy to potential husband. It wasn't all smooth sailing, as Laramie has some trouble believing that she would be willing to give up the rich life for him. Sammi Jo also has some trouble believing that she is good enough for someone like him. After an instance of allowing their insecurities to come between them, I liked the way that Sammi Jo took matters into her own hands and finally stood up for what she wanted. Her big moment at the end was really good.
The portrayals of Mr. Barclay, Sterling and the wedding planner were all quite good. They were definitely easy to detest. Mr. Barclay's control freak persona was horrible, and the way he treated Sammi Jo was wrong on so many levels. I couldn't believe she took it for as long as she did. Sterling was just creepy. His complete disrespect for Sammi Jo was unforgivable and I really wished that Laramie had been a bit rougher with him. The wedding planner was a bitch, plain and simple. I hated seeing Sammi Jo buckle under to her. The twist at the end involving her wasn't really much of a surprise once I thought about it. I'd love to hear that, in the not too distant future, the Barclay hotel went out of business because Sammi Jo had been the one making it all work.
I did enjoy the teasing that Laramie got from his teammates as his feelings for Sammi Jo became more obvious.