First Line: "Sergeant First Class Asher James stared at Captain Phillip Newell, sure that he'd heard wrong."
Summary: Asher James left the army after a horrible mission that went wrong. He and his team were sent to bring in a fellow unit member, Isaiah Michaels, who is suspected of being a traitor. While en route, a bomb went off killing half of his team. A second bomb exploded in the bistro they were headed to, killing Isaiah. Since that day Asher has suffered from PTSD.
After several months in the United States, Asher is still having nightmares. He decides he needs to talk to someone who might be able to help him get past this. He has heard that Military Psychiatrist Brooke Adams has also returned to the US after being honorably discharged. She was in the bistro at the time of the bomb and was with Isaiah Michaels when he died.
Brooke was injured in the bombing and is only just getting back to work. She makes room in her schedule for Asher on her first day back. However, when Asher arrives early to his appointment he finds her office ransacked and her assistant murdered. Fortunately, Brooke hadn't arrived yet. It becomes clear that she was the intended target. Brooke and Asher begin working together to figure out who is trying to kill her and why.
My thoughts: Lynette Eason is a go-to author for me. She can always be counted on to create likeable characters with interesting jobs, plenty of suspense and just the right amount of romance. Collateral Damage was no exception.
Brooke's job as a Military Psychiatrist can be difficult. Military personnel are generally pretty tough and so just getting them to see a psychiatrist often takes an order from a superior. While that might get them into her office, that doesn't mean they will talk. Brooke is disappointed when this happens, but mostly that is because she is concerned for her client. Her big heart for others is what stood out to me about her.
Asher is one of those tough military personnel who don't like to open up to others about their problems. But he finally decides to get some help for his nightmares and Brooke is just the one to help. While his appointment with Brooke never happens, they do get a chance to talk. Asher is relieved to learn that Brooke really does understand what he his going through. This gave me a deeper understanding of what many of our veterans deal with and reminded me how grateful I am for the men and women who serve our country in the military.
There were several supporting characters that I hope we get to know better in future books. Sarah and Kristin, who were both investigative reporters and Sarah's brother, Cade would be welcome characters in future books.
The crimes in this book are rather dark, but the author does a great job of giving the reader enough information to know what is going on without spending lots of time on the gritty details. In the end, the criminals were caught.
The pacing in this book was good. It starts out suspenseful and then slows down for a bit before picking back up again. This kept me turning the pages.
As Brooke and Asher spend time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another. The romance was never the focus of the story, but just developed naturally without the author having to say much about. As far as I'm concerned, it was just right.
Collateral Damage is a great start to a new series. If you enjoy romantic suspense, give this one a try.