Rating: 4.75 stars
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Dale MacIntyre, Sanctuary agent, is in charge of protecting Emily Bullen, wife of Senator Thomas Bullen, from her husband and the rest of the criminally inclined Bullen family. After turning states evidence, Emily is headed back to Albany on a jet. Accompanied only by Dale, the pilot of the plane, and the copilot, she is horrified when word reaches them that a key player in the Bullen family crime syndicate was mistakenly freed from jail and is now able to hunt down the only person who can put him away for life. That person is Emily Bullen.
Midflight, Dale realizes the extent that Ryland Griffin will go to in order to eliminate Emily Bullen. Dale reaches out immediately to the person he knows he can trust to have immediate answers, have his back and that of the person he is protecting. That person is his lover, Navy Seal Joseph Kinnon. When Dale’s assignment gets more dangerous, Joseph and his Seal team intervene and the resulting events bring about a serious introspective search for Dale and Joseph about where their relationship is headed.
I have been waiting for another Dale and Joseph book since they first appeared in The Only Easy Day (Sanctuary #2). In that story, Dale, an ex Seal and Joseph, current Navy Seal, meet, clash, and lust as the investigation into the Bullen family crime syndicate is in its initial stages with Joseph’s murdered sister as one of Bullen family’s first known victims. The start to their romance is white hot, primal, and short lived. Since then, R.J. Scott has kept the readers on high anticipation with teasers of the couple in book after book, but nothing notable or even remotely satisfying. This is how Worlds Collide starts:
“It’s not too late, we can still get out of here,” Chief Petty Officer Joseph Kinnon said urgently. He pressed both hands to the glass and stared down at the street below. The city was a white, snowy landscape and at any other time would have been stunningly beautiful. They were ten stories up in a hotel in the heart of the historic district and the place had ledges at each level. As a team they’d dealt with worse. Assessing the situation, he considered the options.
“Fuentes, talk to me.”
Luca Fuentes, young, tall, and built like the side of barn with muscles on muscles, was the team’s resident hacker but was also a tactical genius. He joined Joseph at the window. “Chief,” he said formally. His green-eyed gaze unerringly focused in on the view that Joseph had. He frowned as he looked out.
“Can you find egress here?” Joseph asked.
Luca tapped the glass.
“Reinforced; we’d need some pretty heavy ordnance to get out—I can get Viktor on that—then zip wire. Get it hooked to the top of the plaza building.” Luca looked up and down, then turned to Joseph. “Forty degrees. We can get down to the roof and get out that way.”
“Assessment?” “Fifty-fifty. I think most of us will be okay, but one of our team is scared of heights,” Fuentes said seriously.
Joseph nodded in agreement. “You’re talking about Mike Dexter.”
“He’s a liability, sir,” Luca answered. “I’m not sure his underwear would remain unstained and survive the fall.”
Joseph and his Seal team are assembled for a very different type of mission, a personal one. This is a funny and really moving introduction, just what I have come to expect from Scott. Joseph and his team are truly a band of brothers, unchanging until now. But the event they have gathered for marks the beginning of transitions for more than one member of the team. We have not met Joseph’s team until now and what a diverse group they turn out to be. I can easily see Scott building an entire new series around this team, especially the randy Viktor. While Scott has let us see Joseph in action, this is the first time we get to see Joseph as a member of his Seal team. By their interactions with each other and their dialog, the author lets us feel why being a Seal and a part of this team is so important to Joseph. And it also lets us into the pain Dale felt when he was forced out. Since being a Seal is fundamental to Joseph’s character, what plays out next highlights the importance of Dale and their relationship.
And that is really what Worlds Collide is all about, an internal shift in both men that will allow them to have a future with each other. This is more a relationship book than any of the other stories in the series to date. Yes, we are still dealing with the fallout from the Bullen family crime investigations. One important criminal has escaped and Dale is in charge of getting Emily Bullen to safety so she can testify. But this section is just the impetus for providing the platform for change in both men’s lives. Here is Joseph with a note from Dale:
Just touching the note grounded Joseph in the here and now. Slowly, over the course of the last few months, the space in his life that had once been filled by the team he was with, by the job, by staying alive, had seen a full-frontal assault by the man he had fallen in love with.
This is a huge ground shift by a man who lived for the Seals alone. Dale too has undergone his own emotional introspection about Joseph and their possible future ahead. I love the way Scott has developed their story. Our first meeting and theirs was explosive, a fight turned sexual. It was incendiary. But after that, something else occurred, they started to care about each other and so did the readers. From time to time, we heard about each man and their tentative relationship in the other books. Nothing concrete for them or us, just tantalizing bits that kept us engaged in their future. So this book was more than welcome, I am sure we felt it was long overdue after being teased through five books. And the author doesn’t let us down.
We alternate perspective, from Dale to Joseph and back, as the events brought on by Dale’s assignment, guarding Emily Bullen, brings out those determined to stop her at all costs. We get to see the fluidity of motion and deadly competency of the Seal team in action, and the intrepidness of Dale’s Sanctuary training coming together to achieve one end. But the highlight of the story must be the time that Joseph and Dale get to spend together after the mission is finished. It’s heartwarming, it’s sexy and it fulfills most of the dreams we have had about this couple. But of course, not all.
It’s all here. All the things that have made this series such a great one. Realistic, fully rounded characters, a complicated criminal investigation that spreads through the series, and a narrative that moves the plot forward swiftly and smoothly. I love that the Bullen investigation is still ongoing, with loose ends out there waiting to trip up Sanctuary and the other agencies. Just a terrific aspect of this series and beautifully plotted out. There are one or two small chinks in the armor here. One small scene with the Seals and the criminal that I thought was unrealistic given their training and readiness. And then there is the ending. Absolutely realistic as always. For those expecting a finality to Dale and Joseph’s romance, we haven’t gotten it …yet. But you know that it is coming and this ending will leave you satisfied for now.
If you are new to the Sanctuary series or Dale and Joseph’s romance, go back to the beginning. An absolute must in order to understand the characters and the events as they play out. Here are the books in the order they were written and must be read:
- Guarding Morgan
- The Only Easy Day (Dale and Joseph’s romance begins)
- Face Value
- Still Waters
- Full Circle
- The Journal Of Sanctuary One
- Worlds Collide (Sanctuary #7)
Cover design by BitterGraceArt is lovely and in keeping with the characters.