Devon Lowe grew up with a father in the Air Force and has always wanted to serve. She joins the armed forces and obtains a position providing cultural support on missions, especially in Afghanistan. She trains hard and she works hard, but being a woman amongst Navy SEALS comes with its own set of problems. Devon is a survivor, though, and she proves herself time and again. Yet, when she is betrayed by her own team, Devon knows she can’t show fear in her new post, but so much damage has already been done.
Rhys Halloran is a pararescueman in the Air Force. He crossed Devon’s path years ago on a mission in Afghanistan and admired her skills. Rhys has just broken up with his fiancé, Lani, a woman he has known all his life, and Rhys is certainly feeling unsettled. When Rhys and Devon are once again teammates, a friendship grows leading to small sparks. Devon still has trauma and trusting a man again wasn’t in her plans and Rhys doesn’t want something casual as he knows the two of them will go in opposite directions for their careers. But slowly, a relationship between the two of them could lead to the start of something worth fighting for.
Keeping a Warrior follows up Loving a Warrior and revolves heavily around life in the armed forces. The first book in the Loving a Warrior series featured two men and while this book is M/F, it keeps the continuity of the series. Where Matt and Shane were in training to become Navy SEALS in that first book, Rhys and Devon have different roles. This book overlaps Matt and Shane’s story during the time the two were separated and I appreciated having had already read their story to understand the dynamics here. Devon’s story also ties in to Matt and Shane’s as well.
Devon is a strong woman across many areas. She is consistently the only woman on her teams and has to work even harder to keep up and fit in. Devon provides cultural support during missions in Afghanistan where the local women would not be able to talk to a man and she is able bridge some gaps, if only for a moment. This is also the story of sexual assault against women in the military and while Devon’s story doesn’t play out in graphic detail on page, it is a theme throughout the entire book as Devon is now a survivor of rape by men she trusted.
Devon and Rhys’s story is set against their missions and training and you would want to be interested in reading about this as it is the main focus of the book. I did find it interesting, but not quite as interesting as Matt and Shane’s story, and I did find myself at times having to puzzle out exactly what the missions were and exactly what was expected of both Devon and Rhys. They both gravitate toward each other from the start, but Devon is understandably hesitant and Rhys is coming off of a breakup, doesn’t want to overstep with Devon, and doesn’t do casual.
As far as the relationship in this one, I found it a little lacking for my tastes as well. I didn’t really feel the connection between the two of them. The story was so focused on their missions, as well as Devon’s trauma, it then didn’t always fit in for me to then see them thinking about how good looking they thought the other was, and there was just something here that didn’t click for me as a romance. We don’t see Devon dealing with her trauma at all other than locking it down. The end was also abrupt for me as it ended at 87% and a new thread was opened at the end involving Rhys’ ex. But, besides that, I didn’t have a great sense of Devon and Rhys as a forever couple.
I have read many books by Hansen that I have enjoyed and while this was okay, it wasn’t my favorite from her. The series will continue later this year and although we did not get a glimpse of who the next MCs will be, I am still interested in returning to this world once again.