Force of Nature (Troubleshooters Series #11)

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Overview

Hard-driving suspense and intense passion are the hallmarks of bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann’s pulse-pounding thrillers. In her tales of daring, danger, courage, and desire, men and women of action fight fiercely, love deeply, and time after time raise the bar for adventure to new heights. Brockmann’s latest novel is no exception.

Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado’s life is spiraling out of control. His beautiful new girl Friday, Annie Dugan, is far ...

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Force of Nature (Troubleshooters Series #11)

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Overview

Hard-driving suspense and intense passion are the hallmarks of bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann’s pulse-pounding thrillers. In her tales of daring, danger, courage, and desire, men and women of action fight fiercely, love deeply, and time after time raise the bar for adventure to new heights. Brockmann’s latest novel is no exception.

Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado’s life is spiraling out of control. His beautiful new girl Friday, Annie Dugan, is far more interested in fieldwork than filing, and despite Ric’s best efforts to ignore the attraction, sparks are flying between them. Then one of Ric’s clients turns femme fatale and tries to gun down an innocent man. Thanks to quick thinking and even quicker reflexes, Ric comes to the rescue, only to learn he’s done a very good deed for some very bad people.

Suddenly Ric finds himself deep undercover with Annie, working for notorious crime boss Gordon Burns. One mistake from Ric’s painfully inexperienced partner and they’re both dead.

FBI agent Jules Cassidy’s life isn’t in much better shape. For years the FBI has been trying to prove Gordon Burns’s ties to terrorist activity. Now, thanks to Ric and Annie, Jules has found a way into the lion’s den. But in the course of his investigation he comes face-to-face with Robin Chadwick, the charismatic but self-destructive and closeted movie star for whom Jules feels a powerful attraction. Robin’s in town promoting his latest film–and Gordon Burns is a star-struck movie buff.

With Robin and Jules’s help, Ric and Annie are soon entrenched in Burns’s organization, surrounded by killers who may already have executed an FBI infiltrator. Before long the couple realizes that many more lives besides their own will be at stake if they make a false move. As the heat between them reaches dangerous levels, so do the risks they’re willing to take–in the line of duty, for the sake of loyalty, and in the name of something that runs even deeper.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Brockman's pair known as the Troubleshooters-former policeman Ric Alvarado and his sexy young assistant Annie Dugan-are brought to laudable life in the audio version of the 11th entry in her popular series. Lawlor and Ewbank (who are also both credited as the directors of this audiobook) catch the voices and attitudes of the Florida private eyes with admirable restraint and make the other male and female characters-who include a gay FBI agent in love with a closeted movie star and a notorious crime boss who happens to be a film buff-impressively distinctive. There's plenty of laughs from the character's witty banter and romance of all possible shapes, sizes and persuasions, which adds an extra layer to the story. Brockman's strong sense of character and her successful mix of romance into an action-packed suspense thriller make this a memorable listen. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, June 25). (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR SUZANNE BROCKMANN

Into the Storm

“Sexy, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . [this] novel has all the right ingredients, including terrific characters [and] a riveting plot rich in action and adventure.”
–Booklist

“Brockman is an undisputed master at writing military and suspense fiction [with] action, danger and passion all rolled into one.”
–curledup.com

Breaking Point

“Readers will be on the edge of their seats.”
–Library Journal

“An action-packed breathtaking thriller.”
–Romantic Times (Top Pick!)

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596001626
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 8/14/2007
  • Series: Troubleshooters Series, #11
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Brockmann
Since her explosion onto the publishing scene more than ten years ago, Suzanne Brockmann has written more than forty books, and is now widely recognized as one of the leading voices in romantic suspense. Her work has earned her repeated appearances on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists, as well as numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year - three years running in 2000, 2001, and 2002 - two RITA awards, and many Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Suzanne Brockmann lives west of Boston with her husband, author Ed Gaffney.

Biography

Although Suzanne Brockmann can't remember a time when she wasn't scribbling something (one of her earliest masterpieces was an action-packed radio play called "Mice on Mars"), she didn't begin to write seriously until she was married with young children. She spent several years trying to break into the super-competitive field of screenwriting before deciding to try her hand at genre fiction; and, it was only after months of intensive research that she finally homed in on Romance. In June of 1992, she sat down to write her first book. By year's end, she had completed ten manuscripts, and in August of 1993, she sold her first book, the contemporary romance Future Perfect.

Brockmann's first novels were stand-alones. But as her career progressed, she noticed that romance mini-series, with their opportunities for character development and intersecting story lines, had become extremely popular. Seeking to increase her readership, she decided to write a mini-series of her own. She found her "hook" in a magazine article on Navy SEALs and, in 1996, she released Prince Joe, the first novel in her Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. The alpha males of Brockmann's fictional SEAL Team 10 proved to be the perfect romantic heroes, and the series was an immediate hit with readers. Four years later, she launched a second series of military/romantic thrillers centered on the friendships, romances, and working relationships among a team of Navy SEALS and members of an elite security agency called Troubleshooters, Inc. Starting with The Unsung Hero in 2000, the Troubleshooters books have catapulted the author to the top of the charts.

Brockmann is known in the industry as a risk-taker, having written stories around such sensitive topics as interracial romance and homosexuality, In 2004, she garnered attention for her eighth Troubleshooters novel, Hot Target, which involved one of her most popular recurring characters, openly gay FBI agent Jules Cassidy, in a romantic subplot. Brockman, who dedicated the book to her gay son Jason, was not sure how readers would respond. To her surprise, the reaction from gay and straight alike proved positive. She stated on her website: "I love the fact that the world I've created in my books -- a diverse American world filled with the same variety of people who live in my urban American neighborhood -- has been so enthusiastically embraced by readers."

Brockmann's distinctive literary blend has come in for its fair share of praise. Writing in the Chicago Tribune, veteran Booklist reviewer John Charles stated: "Brockmann strikes the perfect balance between white-knuckle suspense and richly emotional romance." And USA Today has called her "[t]he reigning queen of militaray suspense." As further proof of her mainstream appeal, she remains one of a handful of Romance novelists to have made the leap from mass market paperback to hardcover.

Good To Know

In an interview with the online magazine All About Romance, Brockmann says: "I started reading when I was three (my first 'real' book was Beverly Cleary's Here Comes the Bus -- I remember this because no one believed that I was really reading it and I got really upset when my older sister took it back to the school library before I'd finished it!)."

A serious history buff from her youth, Brockmann has read widely on WWII and has been known to incorporate stories from that era into the books of her Troubleshooters series.

Brockmann loves music. She attended Boston University as a film major with a minor in creative writing but dropped out to perform with a rock and roll band. She also sang with and served as music director for a Boston-based a cappella group called "Serious Fun" and produced its first and only CD in 1998.

Brockman is married to novelist Ed Gaffney.

The mother of an openly gay son , Brockmann is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays).

In her writing, Brockmann employs a device she calls Deep Point of View. She explains it in an interview with the online writers' journal Writers Write: "In my books, I use subjective point of view, but I'm not satisfied with merely showing the reader what that camera sees from its perch atop a character's head. I bring the camera down, inside of that character's head, so we see the world through that character's eyes. We hear things through his ears. We smell what he smells, feel what he feels, think what he think. With deep POV, I write using words that that character would use. I tell the story with that character's voice."

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

A Year Later

"I’m going in.”

Ric laughed out loud, which was probably not the best thing to do, given the circumstances. “No, you’re not.”

But Annie only narrowed her eyes at his amusement instead of delivering a smack to the side of his head.

Which, he realized, was something she hadn’t done to him since she was thirteen. Still, he could tell that she was tempted.

“Look,” he tried reason. “I said you could ride along. There’s an unspoken understanding there that you’ll stay in the car.” Of course, they were both already out of the car, standing in this suckhole of a parking lot on the crap side of Sarasota.

At least they were standing in the shade.

Annie, too, tried reason. But hers was laced with attitude. “You can’t go in. And unless Hutch is on his way over . . .”

Damn, but he hated when she called him Starsky, even by omission like that. But this time he clenched his teeth and kept his mouth shut. This was definitely not the time or place to get into The Argument, which went something like: “Oh, that’s right, Ric, you don’t have a Hutch. You don’t want one, don’t need one, even though I’m standing right here, volunteering for the job. No, you prefer to believe— despite years of police work that proved otherwise—that you don’t need any backup whatsoever. You’d prefer to end up lying in an alley again, with the shit kicked out of you. You’d prefer to pee blood. Again.”

Annie’s second day of work as his new office assistant at Alvarado Private Investigations hadn’t been a particularly good day for Ric.

Her third day, however, had included his successful apprehension and delivery to the FBI of the shitkicker’s brother, who was wanted in four states for a variety of violent crimes. Ric had received a twenty-thousand-dollar reward for his diligent, but not particularly brilliant detective work. Twenty thousand. After adding up the time he’d put in, plus expenses, it worked out to just over four hundred dollars an hour, which was sweet. Well, sweet, with the exception of those particularly nasty twenty minutes during which he’d allowed himself to get stomped in order to gain possession of the kicker’s cell phone—which subsequently revealed the location of his even nastier older brother’s girlfriend. And again, it wasn’t Ric’s skill as a detective, but rather the fact that Nasty the elder had just broken the woman’s nose, that had worked to Ric’s advantage. For a slim five percent share of the reward, plus a truckload of revenge, she’d eagerly divulged the wanted man’s whereabouts.

Still, four hundred dollars an hour, however he’d earned it, wasn’t something to sneeze at. And the fact that he’d finally worked a lucrative case that didn’t involve bored, wealthy suburbanites cheating on each other was another reason to cheer.

Yet it was the getting-beaten-up-and-peeing-blood part that Annie brought up over and over again.

Along with the fact that she had been sorely misled by her own asshole-of-a-brother-Bruce—her name for him, not his—to believe that Ric needed an assistant rather than a receptionist. Annie had taken this position, she’d told him, not merely because she needed a job where she could bring along her separation-anxiety-suffering little rat-dog, but because she didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day. Yet all Ric wanted her to do was sit in his office behind a desk, take phone calls, and create—again, her words—stupid office forms.

Of course, the most recent stupid office form Annie had created—in under ten minutes—was an exceptionally well-organized client interview sheet. It was precisely what he’d needed—possibly with the exception of those two little boxes, one that said yes, one that said no, next to the words This client wants to do me.

He’d used her interview sheet with his current client, an extremely well-put-together older woman named Lillian Lavelle, who’d come to his office just this morning.

As Ric now watched, Annie got ready to go inside of Screech’s, the so- called gentleman’s club where a young dancer named Brenda Quinn had last been employed. They had been hired—he had been hired—to find Brenda, who was Ms. Lavelle’s recently deceased daughter’s former roommate. Ms. Lavelle apparently had a photo album that she wanted to give to the young woman.

The entire case was proving to be slightly more difficult than he’d first imagined. He’d taken it just this morning, expecting to be filing it in the “case closed” drawer long before noon.

It was now sunset, pink and orange clouds streaking the western sky, as a cooling breeze blew in off the Gulf of Mexico.

As Ric watched, Annie took off her jacket, tossed it in the back of her car, and ran her fingers through her light brown curls.

“Maybe he won’t recognize me,” Ric said as she fished in her shoulder bag for something.

He deserved the look of scorn that she shot him, because it was a stupid thing to say. There was zero chance in hell that Screech’s bouncer, Tommy Fista, wouldn’t recognize him. Seven years ago, almost to this very day, Ric had jammed his knee into the middle of Tommy’s gargantuan back as he’d cuffed him and read him his Miranda rights. Fista had gone to Raiford Maximum Security for five to seven for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Ric tried again. “I heard he found God in jail.”

As he watched, Annie glanced around the corner at the bouncer. Clearly Fista hadn’t found Jenny Craig in the lockup. The huge man was standing at the door to Screech’s, which was a fairly new establishment, having opened since Ric had left the police department last year.

Still, it hadn’t taken Ric much effort to learn that it was owned and operated by Vitardo Co. Strip clubs in this part of Florida were usually owned either by local scumbag Gordon Burns or his main rival, Miami-based Bernie Vitardo.

“So what’s the best-case scenario?” Annie asked as she applied lip gloss with one finger, leaning down to see herself in her little car’s side mirror. “Tony-the-bouncer takes you by the hand, leads you inside for a joyful hymn and prayer session before sharing—willingly— everything he knows about Brenda Quinn?” She straightened up, smacking her lips together as she put the container back in her bag.

“It’s Tommy the bouncer,” Ric corrected her. This was possibly the first time he’d ever seen Annie with makeup on, and he searched his memory, trying to prove himself wrong. But no. Aside from Halloween back when she was little, he couldn’t think of a single time that she’d gotten dressed up. She hadn’t gone to her school prom. And she’d worn one of Bruce’s suits and ties to her high school graduation. Although, as far as makeup went, what she had on now wasn’t much. It just made her full lips look shiny. More moist.

If that was possible.

Annie Dugan wasn’t traditionally pretty, at least not in a helpless- and-fragile delicate female sense. She did, however, have the fresh- faced, Irish American peasant-girl thing down pat, with big gray eyes and freckles, naturally curly hair, and a wide smile that could, at times, be incredibly sweet.

Her attitude, however, was pure twenty-first-century kick-ass dominatrix.

With the exception, perhaps, of her attachment to her ridiculous little dog, Pierre. Ric would’ve expected a woman like Annie to have a golden Lab. Something large and outdoorsy, capable of playing ultimate Frisbee in the park. Something that galloped. Something friendly named Pal or Lucky.

Not this glorified fuzzball of a quivering rodent named Pierre, that she now hugged and kissed and gave a doggy treat to, all while reassuring it that she’d be right back.

“So what’s the worst-case scenario here?” she asked, plopping the rat- thing back onto the front seat of her car, making sure his travel bowl of water was full before turning her attention back to Ric. “A trip to the dentist with your two front teeth on ice in a Ziploc baggie? Or maybe another few days of pink urine? Gee, that’s always so much fun. Setting my watch alarm to go off every ten minutes so I can check to make sure you haven’t gone into shock from excessive hemorrhaging . . . ?”

Yeah, telling her about the internal-injury thing had definitely been a mistake. At the time Ric had thought it would invoke a little sympathy, maybe make her extend the two-week notice that she’d given him back when she’d quit—on day one of her employment—when she found out she’d be sitting behind a desk.

Time was running out. He had only a few days left to replace her or convince her to stay.

And it was there that she had the unfair advantage.

He wanted her to stay. Rather badly.

“It wasn’t days, it was day,” he pointed out now.

“I’m going in to find Brenda Quinn’s last known address,” Annie told him with that hint of bitch-queen, do-not-cross-me, I-am-determined, you-are-toast that he’d first heard in her voice back when he’d met her, when she was eleven and he was fifteen. Almost twenty years ago. Damn, had they really been friends for nearly two decades? Although he hadn’t seen very much of her in the last ten years . . .

Still, it occurred to him that now, just as when she was little, the best way to deal with her might be simply to let her try. Just hang close to pick her up and dust her off in case she failed miserably.

It wasn’t as if there were any real danger hiding in that strip club.

It was, however, filled with relentless apathy, seedy despair, and unending depression. Spending some time in Screech’s might well make Annie decide against a career path as a private investigator.

“Okay,” Ric said.

She looked up at him with a mix of wariness and disbelief.

Ric nodded. “Go for it. Go find Brenda.”

“You don’t think I can do this,” she accused him.

“What does it matter what I think?” he countered. “It only matters what you do. Or don’t do.” Which was more likely going to be the case. But she’d find that out soon enough.

“Thank you, Yoda.” She gave a tug on the bottom of her T-shirt, as if that would somehow provide the illusion that she had real breasts.

And thank you, Mary Mother of God, for keeping him from saying that aloud, because he definitely hadn’t meant to be insulting, just realistic. Not that her breasts weren’t real. They just weren’t stripper-sized.

They were extremely nice, actually. And now that he was thinking about it, it was really her waist that wasn’t stripper size, which was good, because women who had that creepy, tiny-waisted wasp thing going on just didn’t do it for him. No, Annie was curvy and soft in a way that Ric truly appreciated. She was no skinny twig who might snap if you held her too tightly and he was so screwed because he was standing here, staring at her body, thinking about sex.

And that was a serious violation of rules one through about two thousand and twenty-seven in the male employer/female employee relationship handbook. It came right before rule number two thousand and twenty-eight: Never, never, never employ family or friends— because how the hell do you go from twenty years of friendship to employment without completely screwing things up?

Cursing Annie’s brother, Bruce, and his brilliant ideas—Bruce who was going to be mad as hell when he found out that Ric had actually let Annie go into that strip club, so he better never find out—Ric looked slightly more northward, and found himself meeting Annie’s gray gaze.

Her very cool gray gaze.

It was disconcerting as hell. If she wore heels, she’d be at least as tall as he was, and he was not a short man.

“You’re such a jerk,” she said, clearly able to read his mind all the way back to his real-breasts thought. “What, do you think I’m going to pretend I’m here to apply for a job as an exotic dancer?”

Well, yeah, that was what he’d thought. But sometimes it was best to keep one’s mouth firmly shut.

“I’m not stupid, Alvarado,” Annie continued. “Nor am I deluded. I know what I look like.” She laughed her disbelief. “Who’d pay to see me strip?”

With that, she turned and walked away, across the parking lot, around the edge of the building that kept Ric out of Tommy’s line of sight, toward Screech’s front entrance.

Pierre stood up in the front seat of Annie’s car, paws on the steering wheel so that he could watch her go.

Ric watched her, too—watched her T-shirt stretching across her back as she moved. Bruce had told him that one of her last jobs, after she quit the accounting firm, was assisting a woman who built stone walls. She was clearly strong and very . . . healthy. Very. With those long denim-clad legs leading up to a posterior that was . . . definitely healthy.

And in a flash, he could picture her, in motorcycle leather, sexy as hell, with seven-inch platform heels that would turn her into a total Amazon, strutting the stage with a whip, hooking her leg around a pole as she writhed to the pulsating music.

God save him.

She was out of sight now, and he peeked around the corner, far less patient than Pierre, who’d settled in for a nap as he waited for Annie’s promised return.

Across the parking lot, she’d stopped to speak to Tommy Fista, who not only let her pass, but actually held the door for her. When Tommy’s head was turned, she sent a quick grin and a thumbs-up in Ric’s direction, before vanishing into the club.

Max Bhagat, the head of the FBI’s most elite counterterrorist division, had a huge stain on his tie.

He was standing in the waiting area just outside of the Oval Office, and as Jules Cassidy approached this man who was both his boss and his friend, he saw that it was Emma-goo that marred the fine blue silk. It looked as if it might be oatmeal, with traces of Max’s one- year-old daughter’s favorite, mashed sweet potatoes.

“Here’s the file, sir.” Jules handed the sealed envelope over. “The news is bad.” He couldn’t say more than that out here, but he didn’t need to.

Max knew what they were dealing with. This was just confirmation. “Thanks,” he said, sticking the envelope into his briefcase.

The man had also missed a spot while shaving—a small patch near his left ear. No one else would notice it—at least those who didn’t know Max as the meticulously, obsessively well-groomed person that he was.

To Jules, who’d worked with him for years, he looked practically slovenly.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ugh, pass!

    Suzanne Brockman is a great author who writes good stories with strong and compelling charactors. Unfortunately, she's lost sight of being, first, an entertainer. I agree whole-heartedly with all of her stances on social justice issues but grow weary of having them stuffed down my throat in my leasure time reading. That's what editorial pages in blogs and news papers are for. I'll miss these charectors, but I think I'm going to go read an author who chooses to entertain and stays off the soap box.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2007

    Does she Have An Agenda?

    Having read previous Suzanne Brockman books, I thought I was reading a book for entertainment not a book with an agenda. The relationship between the two men was in poor taste, and, no, I could not in good conscience read every page. Why not label under gay and not push the agenda in books purely for a 'fun' read. Disappointing! I will not read another of her books nor will I recommend her. Poor taste!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    G A Y

    G a y

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    amazing story a must read

    I am always amazed at how I become attached to the new characters in this series. This is full of suspenseful, dangerous and romantic. I dare anyone not to fall head over heals with this story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Winner with Emotions and Suspense

    This was my first book by Suzanne Brockmann and I was so impressed with it that I just had to pick up some of her previous novels. Her writing style just seem effortless in describing scenes, i.e the attachment of Jules and Robin, and giving substance to the plot, which for me are key elements in mysteries. When I was finished the first chapter I was hooked. The story moved along at a fast pace and I found it extremely interesting and easy to follow. I read page after page and until the wee hours of the morning. Thank goodness it was a Saturday and I didn't have to go to work.
    Force of Nature is full of suspense and a worthy mystery that I would highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    loved it.

    The author wraps you up in her characters and you become best friends with them. And you want more of them and more information about them when you finish the book. I cried through the last 50 pages. Then I went on-line to find the books in this series that I have not read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    YEsss>>>>>

    Finally Robin and Jules get it together. I never thought in a million years I would hoot and holler for a gay relationship. But this is riveting. They make my cry. The whole story was great. Keep it up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2009

    Riveting - Had trouble putting it down

    Brockman can interweave several plots into one with such skill. I could not wait to find out what would happen next to each of the character. Have read most of this series and feel like I know these players in each story.

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    Finally!

    I loved this book! The Jules/Robin romance is gripping. In fact I have only read the stories with Jules and Robin. I prefer the romance to the action. Love is the biggest adventure there is.

    And to all those who are turned off by the gay romance, Ms Brockmann writes tastefully and love is love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    OMG!

    Finally Jules wins. Suzanne Brockman writes so well. You could feel the attraction between Jules and Robin. I thought this was a really good book. I was as happy for Jules as I was for Alyssa and Sam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2007

    Very Brave Effort

    I enjoyed Force of Nature very much. Ms. Brockmann has done an excellent job of presenting her position on many of the issues of our day in an entertaining format. The romance between Jules and Robin was handled tastefully and in a logical fashion. I recommend that readers go to her webpage and read the free download pamphlet about her storylines. The characters and plot were very well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2007

    Awesome Read!

    This is another great book by Suzanne Brockmann! I really enjoyed Rick and Annie's story and was thrilled to see Jules and Robin get together. As the wife of a soldier and a fomer soldier myself, I was very glad to see the inclusion of the notification issue regarding Ben's death. I hope this might serve as a wake-up call to all regarding the sacrifices being made by our soldiers, sailors and marines who are serving in harm's way. It is a wonderful read, the best in years of the Troubleshooters series. Keep going, Suzanne!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2007

    A must for Jules fans - otherwise PASS!

    This is a must read book for all TS fans of Jules because it's Jules' turn to have things 'go his way'! I thought the chemistry between Jules and Robin was dynamite and very tastefully done. Everyone knew from the beginning of this series that Jules was gay and every major character has had a book with a love interest working out for them. For those who are offended by this book, were you not paying attention to the series theme - major character= major love interest?!?!?!?!? Why should Jules be any different?!!??!!? Unfortunately, the relationship between Ric and Annie took 2nd place and the heat level in this twosome was bordering on boring, unlike others in previous books. It was almost like Brockmann was afraid of offending all with a book totally dedicated to a Jules' love theme so she threw in a hetrosexual couple to pacify any that might be offended. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the hetro couple was not as convincing as the chemistry between the homo couple - I'm sure this offended many, while others such as I, just felt disappointed that Brockmann didn't commit herself to warming up both couples or just one couple 'Jules/Robin'. I think Jules and Robin's affair could have carried the book, if there had been more meat to the storyline and if veteran TS members played more of a part in the book. Sam, Max, and Alyssa were too briefly involved in the story and should have played a larger role. Ric and Anne were just filler. Meantime, where is the whole TS gang?! Brockmann intros a new couple in a book and then they're dropped or she reverts to name dropping to keep them 'involved'. Why not a book 'or 2 or 3' with the TS gang working together and intro a love interest into that mix?! Sorry - I'm a big Brockmann fan and I love Jules, but I miss the old gang and this book was a big disappointment. Not because of the Jules story line, but because everything else seemed so mediocore. Not her best effort and I really hope to see AT LEAST SOME OF THE OLD GANG show up in her next book - they are too much fun and such memorable characters to shelve!!!!!!!!!! Please come through Suzanne!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Life changing

    I am a dedicated Brockmann fan, I will read anything, just on the fact that her name is in the Author's spot on the cover. I have read every book in the Team 16 and troublshooter's line. I have awaited Jules' story since his introduction in the first book. I thought the love scences in Force of Nature, where very well written, but would have liked for the focus to have been on Jules' and not Annie and Ric. I hope Jules and Robin do not fade away in future books. And on a personal note, while I understand it was a book, It has also changed my views on Gayism, and brought forth the understanding that, while christians are taught from a very young age that being gay is a sin, I think we all, forget, that in our judgemental lives, that judging someone, is also a sin, and I , from now on, say, God doesnt make mistakes, and shall embrace a future of openmindedness. Thank you Suzanne, for your wonderful story. Your son must surely be an awsome person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    Disappointing : let me count the ways...

    I am an avid Brockmann fan so this hurts to write but its got to be said. 1. The development of the plot was slow. 2. Brockmann's books are typically very action packed, this one was NOT. 3. The main characters Ric and Annie had no chemistry 4. The intimate scenes with Jules would be more appropriate in a gay romance novel. 5. I felt like I was reading infomercials about alcoholism and gay rights with a little racism for good measure. Sorry Ms. Brockmann, but I know you CAN do better. I'm still a fan and I'll await her comeback!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007

    More bang for my buck!!!

    I was so excited to get her new book. I love the SEALS and cant get enough of them. I thought that it would be your typical HEA but this one knocked my socks off. I got more story than I was expecting to. I have to say that I think this book is my fav out of the whole series. Suzanne you have out done yourself with this one. I hope you brought your A game on for the next book to top that one. WOW!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2007

    Enjoyable summer read

    I love Suz and will buy anything she writes. However this is her first book that left me wanting. A little slow paced throughout, then all of a sudden it was over, the ending wrapped up too fast. I loved her dialog between the characters but could have done without the war updates and preachiness that entered this book. If you are a Suz fan you will still enjoy this Troubleshooters installment. However, if you are new to reading Suz I would suggest going back a couple of books to 'Hard Target' first. Overall an enjoyable read (you can skip over a couple pages if necessary ~Jules&Robin~ love scene). But don't pass up the book because of that scene. Bravo Suz

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2007

    I loved this book!

    This book reminded me a lot of 'Breaking Point', in that we get two HEAs (happily ever after). While I liked Ric and Annie, Jules and Robin stole the show. They actually got a lot less 'page time' than Ric and Annie, but the intensity of their relationship was not hindered by that all. This book was well worth the wait, and to anyone who is at all squeamish about gay love scenes, they were tastefully done. I'd rate them PG or even G. I laughed, I cried... This is my new favorite Troubleshooters book! I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007

    I really, really wanted to rave about this novel!!

    I really wanted to rate this book a 5, but I just couldn't. I LOVE the Troubleshooter Series and have read and re-read them all several times. I, too, have been waiting for Jules¿ story and to catch up on all the wonderful characters of the series. The two romances in Force of Nature were absorbing and heartrending, but there were two major distractions. A seeming inundation of social commentary was abundantly apparent. Homophobia¿obviously¿but also the war in Iraq, domestic violence, alcoholism, racism, terrorism, sexism, just to name a few. Doesn¿t Brockmann realize she¿s preaching to the choir and the reader doesn¿t need to be made to feel guilty? Like any author, Brockmann uses sub-plots to add drama and move the story forward. But this time, after characters from various story lines have been allowed to do their work, they just fade away. For example, whatever happens to the porn-queen Lillian??? Or the racist cop Donofrio??? Or the assistant Dolphina?? I was left wanting. I recommend this book to veteran Brockmann fans and Brockmann newcomers. The novel isn¿t the best in the series, but it¿s definitely worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2007

    Very Disappointed

    Normally her books are cover to cover reads with only bathroom breaks, however, this one took two long weeks. Ric and Annie were just taking up space, and didn't serve a purpose, much less 'hot couple' status. Where is all the action, the snappy dialog, the actually chemistry between the characters, the entertainment value, and the TS crew? Instead of being an entertaining read, it was more like a social commentary.

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