"Vivid and charming."—CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Lou is a hurricane.
A walking disaster.
And with her, Callum's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own terms...no matter how tempting her new ice dive captain Callum Cook may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who'll stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue brotherhood can keep her safe forever.
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
"Gripping suspense, unique heroines, sexy heroes." -Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Search and Rescue Series:
On His Watch (FREE novella)
Hold Your Breath
Fan the Flames
Gone Too Deep
In Safe Hands
After the End (FREE novella)
What People Are Saying:
"I love Ruggle's characters. They're sharply drawn, and vividly alive. I'm happy when they find each other. These are wonderful escapist books."—CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
"Sexy and suspenseful, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough."—JULIE ANN WALKER, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author for Hold Your Breath
"Chills and thrills and a sexy slow-burning romance from a terrific new voice."—D.D. AYRES, author of the K-9 Rescue Series for Hold Your Breath
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Hold Your Breath
By Katie Ruggle
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Katie Ruggle
All rights reserved.
Jumping into a hole cut in the frozen reservoir was a stupid idea. In fact, of all the questionable decisions she'd made since abandoning civilization for her tiny mountain cabin seven months ago, this was probably the worst.
At least, Lou mused wryly, it was a beautiful place in which to do a dumb thing. The sun lit the snowcapped mountains circling like sleepy sentinels around them, and the wind chased powdery snow across the frozen reservoir. Despite the cold, it still smelled strongly of fish.
"Ready for some ice-rescue training?" Derek bumped his neoprene-covered arm against hers. He seemed much too cheerful for a guy about to dive into glacial water.
"Aww, Lou." When he tried to pat her head with one of his bright blue gloves, she ducked out of reach. "Nervous?"
"Of course not. Why would I be nervous about jumping into a hole in the ice and swimming around in thirty-two-and-a-half-degree water? Why did I join the Field County Rescue Dive Team and not the Jamaican Whatever again?"
"Because I would not be on the Jamaican Dive Team," Derek answered. "And I make it worth the cold."
"Yeah, not really."
"Hey!" He smacked her arm, she laughed and whacked him back, and then it evolved into a full-fledged slap fight. The blue-nitrile shade of their gloves made them look like life-size cartoons, and Lou couldn't hold back another laugh.
Callum's bellow froze her in place. She shot Derek a wry glance before turning to face their team leader. She took careful, deliberate steps in the clumsy dry-suit boots, as humiliation was better served in small doses. Being caught goofing off was bad enough. She didn't need to fall on her ass, as well.
"Yes?" She eyed his scowling face. It was too bad about his surliness, since Callum was a joy to look upon otherwise, in a gladiator-meets-drill-sergeant kind of way. His blond hair was military short, and his eyes were a startling and beautiful blue against tanned skin. His jaw was square, and his body ... Taking a deep breath, she carefully did not check out the neoprene-wrapped perfection below his neck.
Because ... damn.
"What are you doing?"
Somehow, answering "Fooling around with Derek" did not seem like the best idea. "Uh ... nothing."
He stared at her, heavy frown still in place. "It didn't — Never mind. You're like a terrier with ADD. Why can't you stand still for five minutes?"
"Because ..." She shot a glance at Derek. The traitor had taken several steps back and was pretending to examine a seam on his dry-suit sleeve. "He ... I just ... Um, the gloves ..."
Callum let the silence hang for several seconds. When he eventually turned away from Lou, she let out the breath she'd been holding and shuffled over to rejoin Derek. Once there, she punched him lightly — well, sort of lightly — in the kidney.
"Ouch." He gave her an injured look. "What was that for?"
"Why am I always the one who gets in trouble?"
"Because you're the one who starts it."
"Do not," she protested, realizing she'd gotten a little loud only when Callum's eyes focused on her again. Dropping her gaze, she studied the half-frozen puddle in front of her boots. It seemed as if every single time she did something embarrassing, Callum was there, watching her with the look — a mix of exasperation and irritated bafflement. The sad part was that, even after three months of getting the look, Lou still wasn't able to smother the obnoxious butterflies that fluttered in her belly whenever she was the center of his attention.
"You done?" he asked. At her nod, he jerked his chin toward the icy reservoir.
Lou fell in line with the six other divers, taking slow, exaggerated steps to avoid tripping over her own neoprene-wrapped feet or slipping on the ice. As they reached the large opening that had been carved out earlier in the day for the training exercise, Lou peered at the water, frowning.
"What's wrong?" Derek asked, stepping up beside her and following her gaze as if looking for the answer to his own question.
She shrugged. "All that ice around the edge makes the water look really cold."
Bumping her with his elbow, he snorted. "It is cold, genius. It's literally freezing, which explains all the hard stuff we're standing on."
Lou elbowed him back. "Dork," she grumbled.
He smirked at her.
"The ice is just under ten inches here," Callum announced in his schoolteacher tone — the one that always made Lou want to act up like a contrary third-grader. "Is that thick enough for a group of people to walk on?"
"Wouldn't it have been better to confirm that before we left shore?" Lou muttered, making Derek snicker. Callum sent a sharp look her way.
"It's thick enough," Chad answered, taking a step toward Callum. "It'd even be okay to drive on it."
"A car or light truck," Chad said quickly. "For anything more, twelve inches would be better."
"That's what she said," Derek whispered loud enough to make everyone except Callum laugh. Even Chad grinned before dropping his chin to hide it.
Callum let his gaze fall on each person in turn. The chuckles died, replaced by awkward coughs.
"So this ice is safe?" he finally asked when silence had fallen over the team members.
"Yes." Chad was the first to speak up again, and Lou winced. He'd obviously already forgotten the four hours they'd spent watching training videos that morning.
Wilt gave a slow, sad shake of his head. "No ice is safe," he said in the Arkansas drawl he held on to even after forty years in Colorado. Lou liked Wilt. He was a soft-spoken man who kept quiet unless he had something important to say. When he spoke, everyone shut up and listened. Wilt was in his sixties, with a thick mustache that drooped over his mouth, giving him a perpetually mournful expression.
"Good, Wilt," Callum said. "Glad someone was paying attention this morning. We have to be especially careful of weak spots after the warm spell last week. Even though it's been cold the past couple of days, the ice probably hasn't recovered yet."
Chad's shoulders sagged. Knowing all too well how it felt to be under the heavy weight of Callum's displeasure, Lou shot him a sympathetic glance. He avoided her gaze.
"Okay!" Callum clapped his blue-gloved hands together. "Everyone in the water. First time in is the hardest, so it's best to get it over with."
Lou eyed the water doubtfully, shuffling a little closer to the edge of the hole. She had a lot of scuba diving experience, but most of it had been in tropical locations. This was new to her.
"What if my suit has a leak?" Chad asked. Lou whipped her head around to stare at him. Hell. She'd never thought about a leaky suit. Her newly panicked gaze flew to Callum's face.
"Your suit is buoyant enough that it won't matter, even if it fills with water to your armpits." Callum waved a dismissive hand. "You'll still float."
Slightly relieved but trying not to think about how freaking cold thirty-two-degree water up to her armpits would be, she turned her attention back to the opening in the ice. Derek had already taken the plunge.
"C'mon in," he said, letting his legs float to the surface and leaning back as if he were in an easy chair. "The water's fine."
Deciding to just get it done, Lou took a breath and jumped in. When her head went under, she instantly realized her mistake. Once the shockingly cold water hit her face, her lungs clamped down, squeezing out all her oxygen. She didn't even try to figure out which way was up but just let her suit float her to the surface instead.
She felt a tap on the back of her hood and yanked her face out of the water. Callum was close enough for her to see the deep creases between his eyebrows.
"You good?" he asked.
After examining her face carefully, he shook his head. "Never do anything halfway, do you, Sparks?"
Since she didn't know if that was a compliment or an insult, she kept quiet. Her legs kept wanting to float to the surface behind her and tip her onto her front as the others climbed in more carefully. Scowling, she tried to force her lower half down but ended up flailing unsuccessfully.
"How are you staying upright?" she asked Callum, craning her neck to keep her face out of the water as her legs headed for the surface again.
"Tuck them to your chest and then push them straight down." He swam toward the icy ledge as she struggled to master her buoyant suit. She finally managed to shove her legs down so her body was more or less upright.
"Ha!" she crowed, slapping the surface in victory. "Got you down, bitches!"
"Did you just call your legs 'bitches'?" Derek asked from directly behind her, making her jump. Her upper body tilted forward, but she got herself back under control.
"Yep. Occasional evidence to the contrary, I am in charge of all my body parts."
"Glad to hear it."
"Everyone out!" Callum bellowed, levering his body onto the ice with ease. "Exit the water on your front like a seal and then roll away from the edge. Remember, the more you can distribute your weight, the less likely it is you'll go through the ice."
Lou flattened her hands on the ice and tried to hoist her body out of the water, but it looked a lot easier when Callum did it. Her legs, damn the rogue bastards, floated forward and up, catching under the ledge. She managed to slam the edge of the ice into her belly, driving out her breath.
"Nice, Lou," Derek mocked as he slid gracefully onto the solid surface. "You're like a special seal."
"Oh, shut up," she muttered, panting, as she hauled herself out of the water.
This, she could tell, was going to be one hell of a day.
* * *
"Sparks!" Callum bellowed. "You're up!"
She sighed, relinquishing her spot on the rope where she'd been helping to pull the "victims" and their rescuers out of the water and across the ice. It was like a lopsided game of tug-of-war — all brute strength and teamwork — and she'd actually been getting to like that part of training, despite the hard work. But now that she wasn't pulling, she noticed her eyelashes had frosted over, and her neck and the top of her chest were clammy from the water that had leaked into the suit after her full-body plunge.
Trudging over to Callum, she lifted her arms so he could wrap the end of the rope around her middle. Although she'd watched three of the guys perform an in-water rescue, she was still nervous. The ice-rescue veterans had made it look easy, but she had a feeling her first time wouldn't go so smoothly.
Callum handed her the victim's harness, which looked like a skinny pool noodle. It was attached to her rope with about six feet of line. That way, the victim would be first out of the water, and she'd be behind him, in a position to help lift him onto the ice.
"When you get to the victim, carabiner should be in your right hand," Callum instructed. "The other end goes in your left. Get control of your suit before trying to save anybody. Approach the victim from the side or back, talk to him, harness him up, signal the guys to start pulling, and lift your knee to help boost him onto the ice with your thigh. Once you get your hands on him, do not let go of your patient. Got it?"
"Yes." Her voice sounded a little uncertain, so she firmed her jaw and tried again. "Yes."
Callum's mouth quirked up on one side. If it had been anyone but Callum, Lou would've thought he was holding back a smile.
Okay. Okay, she could do this.
She approached the edge of the ice, crawling when she was ten feet out and then moving to her belly and sliding across the last yard. Swinging her legs around, she dropped feetfirst into the water, careful to keep her face above the surface this time. She looked back at where Callum stood on the ice. He bumped his closed fist on the top of his head, the signal for Are you okay? She answered in the affirmative with a matching fist-to-head bump before heading toward her "victim."
Holding her face out of the water, she swam toward Phil, who clung to the ice on the other side of the opening with melodramatic panic. Lou had to bite back a groan when she saw how he was putting every ounce of community-theater experience into his role of drowning victim.
Coming up next to him, she tried to get her legs underneath her as she spoke. "Hang on, sir. I'm Louise Sparks with the Field County Dive Team. We're going to get you out of here."
Phil's pretend struggles increased, and his thrashing hand slapped the water, splashing it into her face. Air left her lungs again at the breath-stealing cold, and her legs floated up behind her. Damn it. When she could move her body again, she drew her knees up and pushed her feet straight down, glaring at her grinning victim.
"Oops," Phil said. "Sorry, Lou."
"Uh-huh," she muttered as she moved around behind him. "I'm hooking this harness around you, sir, so the team on shore can pull you out."
She struggled to reach around Phil's wide girth, wishing she'd gotten skinny Wilt as her victim instead. The dry-suit gloves made her fingers thick and unwieldy, and she fumbled with the carabiner. To make matters even more silent-swear-worthy, Phil had resumed his melodramatic struggling.
"Don't make me drown you," she snarled, jerking her head back so his flapping elbow didn't connect with her eye.
"Where's your compassion, Lou? I'm a panicked, hypothermic tourist here." The bastard sounded as if he were about to laugh.
"I'll show you compassion," she muttered through gritted teeth. "And if you're hypothermic, shouldn't you be getting tired and sluggish?"
"That sounds threatening." Phil was definitely laughing, the ass. "As soon as you save me and I get out of the hospital, I'm going to file a complaint with your superior."
"That's where you're wrong — there is no one superior to me," she said, letting out a relieved grunt when she finally succeeded in hooking the carabiner through the metal loop of the harness.
Phil laughed and then wiggled several feet sideways, pulling his slick, neoprene-covered body free of her grip.
"Never let go of your patient!" Callum yelled. "Once you put your hands on him, you do not let go until he is being lifted into the ambulance, understand?"
With a heavy sigh, Lou tried to maneuver behind Phil again, but he was surprisingly agile for such a big guy. Plus, the training had been tiring, and she still had to help hoist Phil's bulk out of the water. Clenching her jaw, she lunged toward him, managing to latch her arms around his waist.
"Got you!" she crowed, but her satisfaction was quickly overruled by irritation as her legs floated up behind her again, curving her spine into an awkward partial backbend. With Phil's body in the way, she couldn't pull her knees up very easily. After several unsuccessful attempts at getting her legs underneath her, she kicked out in frustration. But instead of passing through unresisting water, her booted foot hit hard against something.
"What the hell?" she mumbled, looking over her shoulder. She couldn't see whatever it was through the murky water. It had felt fairly firm, although it had moved with her kick. She was tempted to thump it with her boot again, but reconsidered.
"What?" Phil had finally realized she was ignoring him. He quit his fake struggling, twisting his head around to follow her gaze.
"I kicked something." She kept staring at the water, as if she'd suddenly develop X-ray vision. Her arms were still locked around Phil's middle. No need to get yelled at for making the same mistake twice.
"The Mission Reservoir Monster?" he asked in his best spooky voice.
"What's taking you so long?" Callum called from the ice. "For Christ's sake, Sparks, your victim would be dead by now. Just complete the recovery, and let's get his body out of the water so we can notify his next of kin."
"You gave up on me so quick, Cal," Phil whined. "Aren't you even going to start CPR?"
"No way," Derek yelled back. "He knows where those lips have been."
"What's the problem?" Callum didn't sound amused. He did sound annoyed.
"There's something under the water. I kicked it."
"Shark?" Chad suggested.
"Seriously?" Derek scoffed. "In a freshwater reservoir?"
"Maybe," Chad muttered with a shrug.
Excerpted from Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle. Copyright © 2016 Katie Ruggle. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## FRUSTRATING. Couldn't finish it. I got 1/4 through the book and couldn't take it anymore. I can't understand the good reviews. This heroine was so annoying. She said HUH and UH and UM so many times, I wanted to smack her upside the head with my nook. She was supposed to be a rescue diver but she kept stumbling and falling. She was incredibly juvenile and unprofessional, continously socking her teammate in the arm and checking out every male around. Too many unnecessary details as well. Sorry, can't recommend.
I'm struggling with how to rate this book: PRO's: 1. Heroine was awesome. So feisty and take charge but not to the point that she had to have everything her way. She listened to the hero and admitted faults. 2. Cast of characters were very interesting and worthy of their own books CONS: 1. The entire book was in the heroine's point of view and not written in first person (meaning, no "I," instead "she," "he," etc). This really detracted from me fully engaging with an awesome hero. You could tell he had so much going on in his head. I felt truly frustrated when I couldn't read his thoughts and understand his motivations. 2. This book wasn't really a gripping romantic suspense. Don't get me wrong. The story was fun to read but it was more like a contemporary romance with some suspenseful elements. I'm going to try the next one and hope that the author balances the POV's and ups the suspense elements.
This is my first time reading this author and I grabbed book 2 and 3 to continue. Lou is a pistol. A breath of fresh air with her openness. Callum took awhile to grow on me. Romance, mystery, suspense. I want to get to know everyone in this town
Couldn't finish because Lou was so juvenile and silly. Waste of time and money.
Good plot and an engaging book.
I loved the book. Will definitely read more in this series.
I really enjoyed this book, and the whole series is worth reading. Great action and suspense, good steamy romance, and laugh out loud dialogue! Only reason it did not get five stars is I had some plot questions. If you are getting this on Free Friday, snap it up and I bet you will want to read more Katie Ruggle! If you missed free friday it is still worth buying. Beth in NC
Hold Your Breath is the first in a new series by new to me author Katie Ruggle. I absolutely adored this book and it was all due to Louise "Lou" Sparks. Lou gave me some truly laugh out loud moments. Lou is Tinkerbell tiny but she is strong. She has yet to learn how strong she can be. I read this book in one sitting. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I am just going to say if you like romantic suspense or small town romance you want to check out this book.
Creepy villians and addictive storyline. I read entire series. Kept me guessing. Tidy plot. Great characters. Dialogue was really good. Made me laugh out loud. And the action was terrific. Love scenes are heart pounding, not graphic. Very tastefully done. Would highly recommend. Kept me turning pages way too late at night. Love Katie Ruffle and I love this series. Can't wait for the next one.
Search and Rescue Book One Lou Sparks recently moved to the Rocky Mountains to escape her former life of compliance. She wants to be her own woman and joins the Field County Ice Rescue team led by the uptight Callum Cook. When Lou's tires are slit and she kicks a dead guy in the water, Cal decides she needs more supervision and protection. Lou and Cal begin investigating the murder from her headless dead guy, but the stakes are rising with her stalker, as well. If you're looking for an icy cold mystery and steamy love connections, this is the book for you!
Seven months ago Lou had left civilization to live in a small mountain cabin in the Rocky Mountains. She was training for the ice rescue dive team . Their leader was Callum. Lou was in the water practicing a rescue when she kicked something solid. It seemed to float to the surface and it was a headless body. When Lou reported to the sheriff Rob told her the victim had been tied to a weight and Lou had dislodged that. The Victims hands were also cut off harder to identify that way. Lou can’t seem to let go of the question who did the body belong to and why was he killed as he was. Also lately Lou was on the receiving end of some dangerous pranks. Lou had a thing for the leader Callum and when he realizes Lou is in danger he doesn’t leave her alone. Lou was a strong woman and left her home town as her parents were overly controlling and her boyfriend had been too possessive so Lou made a break and went for a new life. So Callum changes as he spends more time with Lou even though he is OCD about neatness, Callum starts caring for Lou he smiles more and even moved Lou into his cabin with him when her cabin goes up in flames from arson. I enjoyed this story. The mystery and suspense intrigued me, the danger added an extra spark to the story. It was a good read with a good plot and writing. Once you started reading the story grabs you and you don’t want to put it down at least that was how it was for me. I liked the twists of this story as well as the characters. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
Less steamy than my normal reads but it kept me interested with the characters. Pretty funny and suspenseful. I am certainly going to buy next one!
Hold Your Breath is my first book by Katie Ruggle, but won't be my last. This book is well written. The characters are amazing and my favorite thing about the book. Lou and Callum's story is chock full of action, suspense, humor and steam. This book has it all! I enjoyed this book from cover to cover and look forward to my next book by Katie Ruggle. Hold Your Breath is book 1 in the Search And Rescue Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger, but the story does continue in the next book I believe. Personally there's nothing I hate worse than cliff-hangers, and since I'm ok with the end of this book I call it a complete book.
Lou leaves Connecticut and her overbearing parents and boyfriend and moves to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. She is training on the Search & Rescue dive team where the divers work in freezing lakes. Because she's the only woman on the team she has to work extra hard to get their trust. Lou was a lawyer in Connecticut but now works in a coffee shop so this is a huge change for her. Callum is her team leader. He's a tough and intense man with complete control over his team. Lou is quite spontaneous so his control over her actions is not easy for him. Even though Callum's approach to everything having to be "just right" and Lou blunders through life, they are attracted to each other. In this case, opposites do attract. While on a dive training Lou dislodges a body from under the ice. When she goes back to her truck she sees one of the tires have been slashed and this isn't the first time it's happened. Between Lou wanting to find out who the dead man was and having a stalker, she's got a mess on her hands. Callum gets all alpha and won't leave Lou, feeling she needs his protection. Katie Ruggle is a very illustrative writer making it easy to picture the events taking place. The book is a great read and definitely captures the reader in the story line, but that wouldn't work if she didn't have good characters. Lou is a strong, courageous woman that comes across a bit klutzy at first. But we see that's mainly because of her feelings for Callum which she tries to hide. Since she wants him to see her as capable, whenever she messes up, she feels it's ten times worse than it really is. Callum is very competent and can't abide being anything else. The differences between them was so extreme that I couldn't picture them as a couple. He had OCD, being a clean freak and she was a total slob. I wondered how they could have feelings for each other but, obviously, attraction has nothing to do with how clean or messy someone's house is. If you like suspense and action with a bit of romance tossed in, you'll like this book.
Loved. Got the next one in the series - and the next one is on preorder! Although they'll survive stand alone, in order might be best. Lots of mystery with realistic romance and a fun read!
Good story. A little drawn out, but still good.
Loved it! Hold Your Breath is my type of story! Romance, mystery, and suspense! All good stuff in my opinion! Louise has moved to the mountains, and left behind her controlling parents and boyfriend in hopes of being more independent. There she works as a waitress at a diner, and has become part of the ice search and rescue dive team. I love Lou's humor, and that she isn't a damsel; she's a tough chick when she needs to be, and she keeps a level head in some pretty dire situations. While in dive team training, Lou finds a headless dead guy in the ice, and to top it off she also has a stalker. Callum is her dive team leader, and he is feeling protective of Lou, so he decides it would be best to stay with Lou. Lou has a crush on Callum, and Callum has a crush on Lou, so romance ensues! It does take a little bit for them to open up about their feelings for each other, but I think it was done well, and enjoyed their banter with each other, and I loved that Callum is a bit stoic and likes things to be just so; it was fun to read about Lou messing with him a bit, and they had excellent chemistry. The romance scenes were great, and they had some really sweet moments! Callum is adorable! Lou, with the help of Callum, decides to try to find out who the dead guy is, so they begin an investigation of their own. I loved the mystery and the action scenes! The ice diving was cool and unique, and made for some interesting scenes. The mystery isn't completely solved in this book, so there is a bit of cliffhanger, but the romance isn't left hanging, and the stalker issue is taken care of. I liked all the side characters, and there also is the small town vibe, so I love that. I was a little pinch disappointed with who the stalker was, but I liked the backstory of the situation, and I was surprised with how it ended. I will definitely read the next book in this series, and I will definitely check out other books by Katie Ruggle!
Callum is the dive chief and Lou is the new recruit. They are opposite one is serious and straight by the book where the other is fun loving, wild and funny with her off the wall sayings. Callum doesn’t know how to take Lou she does lighten the mood and at times makes him smile which is so unlike him. For me the author really got my attention more so than in the first book of this series. This book I really loved the author gives you wonderful characters which will keep you smiling as they butt heads giving you a wonderful read. I really enjoyed watching Callum loosen up and watching Lou pull bring him around to be more of a fun loving person. The author gives you a story full of mystery from the headless guy to Lou’s stalker. I liked how Callum did his best to protect her and help her out when she wanted nothing from him. He is a true gentleman. It was nice to see some of the characters from the first book in this series. I really liked Derek in the first book and it was nice to see him a Lou hit it off with a strong friendship. I loved how they baited and edge each other on making the read a lot of fun. The author gives you a very thought out read full of action and packed with adventure full of adrenaline rush and pack with suspense. She throws a major twist at the end you won’t see coming which made this an outstanding read. You have wonderful characters you can relate to that makes you hold your breath as they take a ride that will have you hanging on the edge trying to keep up. I loved the chemistry between Callum and Lou the way they complete each other bring the best out of each other. The author brings you a great story leaving you hanging on for the next book in this series. Oh it is going to be a good one.
This story has it all, interesting, complicated characters, sweet, yet passionate, adorable romance, suspense, that makes you bite your nails, humor, life, and extreme circumstances, all in a well built plot! This is a story that you want to lose your sleep over. There's a lot of banter in the story, and it is the kind that is fun, a little flirty, and lots of humor in it. Lou is a strong heroine, she manages well with the male rescue workers, and holds her own in a crisis. Callum, even though a crunchy exterior, completely melts, when it comes to Lou. Those two made me smile and sigh so many times. It is not a syrupy love story, more on the side of awkward and clumsy, but it is real, and delightful. Both of them prove through the story, that they are willing to do anything for each other. There's conversations between Callum and Lou, so fragile, and tender, but so charming. The suspense is built slowly but surely. The danger expands, and gets tangible, when lives are in peril, and what was thought to be 'just a stalker' turn outs to be so much more. The characters, even the supporting cast and crew, are complex, and charming. I wish there would have been a more information about Callum's background. There's several hints about it, that there's even more to him, that was told, and references about his past, but the details never came forward. As a book one in the series, it is solid, it does a great job to build the scene, and set the stage. The major crime of the story is not solved in this book, and the readers are left to wait with a sort of a middle of the conversation cliffhanger. I hope this only means that the next instalment of the series is coming out soon, since the story was built strong enough, the interest to the characters was keen enough, so that the cliffhanger ending was not needed, to bring the readers for more. ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
What a great story!!! I read the novella "One His Watch" for some of the background, but "Hold Your Breath" was such a well rounded filled out story full of suspense, drama, and quiet romance. I especially enjoy a great suspenseful romance as long as it has a great flow to the story and this one definitely had it. Callum had such a quiet commanding presence and Lou was noisy, dedicated and so much fun. It seemed that nothing got her down. She never gave up, just picked herself up and just kept moving forward. Callum was quietly by her side supporting her. On the search and rescue for the dive teams, there was just enough information without getting too detailed and detracting from the story, but just giving us enough to enhance what we were reading about. "Hold Your Breath" is a real winner for Katie Ruggle and I highly recommend it. I would like to thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks for gifting me with an ARC and only asking for an honest review. 4.5 Stars!!
So, when it comes to the first book in a new series by a new to me author, I'm always a bit anxious. But not so much with this book. Mainly because I read the free prequel, On His Watch first. I was impressed that the author managed to pack so much goodness into 100 pages, and that left me excited to see what could be done with a full length novel. I was not disappointed. We met both Louise Sparks and Callum Cook in the prequel. There was definitely some chemistry going on between the two then. This book is where we really watch those sparks catch flame. Lou Sparks was a fantastic female character. Here is a woman who is making it on her own, forging a new life for herself, away from a super controlling family. She is learning as she goes, but is not afraid to accept assistance when she needs it. I really hate when a female character is stubborn for the sake of being stubborn, or does the stupid contrary thing to prove 'the man' can't tell her what to do. That is NOT Louise. Thank heavens. Lou uses humor and a bit of sneaky sarcasm to get her points across. I really liked her, although Callum stole my heart. Callum, is Lou's Captain and boss when she's working with the Field County Rescue Dive Team. Callum is the only paid position on the team, and though we don't really learn much about his job, we do learn a lot about the type of man he is. Former military, and very by the rules, he is very much a controlling alpha male. But it's his OCD issues about cleaning and how he keeps his house and vehicle that had me laughing with Lou as she discovered his quirks and foibles. The romance was very slow to simmer. The first kiss didn't happen till 33%, and the next kiss doesn't happen until 52%. However, I liked the slow burn of the romance. While Lou and Callum tried to figure out the mystery of the HDG, as well as trying to figure out who was slashing Lou's tires, their friendship and partnership grew, creating a really great bond. Something else that I liked was that while Lou and Callum were trying to figure out the victim's identity, they had to deal with things like HIPA laws. There was no convenient person willing to spill anyone's personal information just because some random stranger asked. This kept things very realistic and earned my respect that the author didn't take the easy route. Also when the smexy times did finally occur, safe sex happened, again keeping things real. My biggest complaint? There were a few slow parts, during the build up. Though on the flip side, it was necessary to set the full stage for everything that was to come. Overall, this was a terrific read and I'm thrilled that I already have ARC of book 2, Fan the Flames ready to read soon. Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read and review the book.
Unpredictable and intriguing romantic suspense. Katie Ruggle has done an excellent job of creating a very unpredictable and intriguing Romantic Suspense. The characters are not only interesting but also fun. Albeit that there are a few strange characters but that makes the entire situation that much more realistic. The setting is in a small Colorado town where everyone knows everyone’s business so it seems very much like visiting Mayberry. In addition, this is the first full length book in a series about the Field County Rescue Dive Team. I previously read the preceding novella which is a good introduction but I don’t feel like it was a good representation of the series as a whole. Hold Your Breath was much more intense than the novella. Louise “Lou” Sparks is the newest member of the dive team. She left her overbearing parents in Connecticut to gain her independence and start a new life. Although she is fitting into the team fairly well, she comes off to be somewhat of a ditz in front of her very attractive boss, Callum. Callum “Cal” is a former Marine who is a stickler for law and order. After Lou accidentally dislodges a headless murder victim from the icy reservoir, her life takes a major turn for the worse. She realizes that she has a stalker and all hell breaks loose. She and Cal decide to try and find out the identity of the murder victim while also trying to avoid getting killed by the stalker. This situation ends up bringing Lou and Cal closer together. They develop a romantic relationship that the small town seems to become very curious about. The suspense element of the book is what makes everything worth reading. Katie spins a whale of a tale. Nothing is what it seems. Although Lou is watching her back, she doesn’t see what’s in front of her until it’s too late. Cal does a great job of playing her knight in shining armor and they are great together as a couple. I also appreciated the fact that they didn’t end up having a cliche’ relationship with a lot of unrealistic drama. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out the identity of the murder victim as well as the stalker. I wondered if they were connected and who would die before they figured this all out. Be advised that not all questions will be answered but it will still be a great ride. **Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**