LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…
Alisha Bailey left a life of privilege for the dangerous but thrilling world of search and rescue. Denying the lure of attraction to her teammate is another sacrifice she’s made to prove to everyone—including her family— that she’s more than a pretty face or a business commodity.
Since their training days, Devon Leblanc has used the competitive fire between them to hide his fascination with the petite beauty. When a natural disaster forces their rivalry aside, heated passion finally flares between them. Sexual pleasure slowly gives way to a new appreciation for each other’s skills—on the field and in the bedroom.
But when unexplained accidents begin happening to the Lifeline team, their newfound unity may be their only hope for survival…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
Put Vivian Arend’s name on something and watch me scramble to get my hands on it. I have been a fan of hers for years through several different series and settings. My only complaint is that I reach the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment of her Adrenaline Search and Rescue series, High Risk. One of the things I enjoyed in High Risk was the interaction and tension between the Lifeline members so when I found out that book two, High Passion, was an inner team romance I was super excited. I am equally as happy to say that High Passion lived up to my excitement.
On the surface, Alisha and Devon seemed to be total opposites. One managed to charm everyone, joke about everything, and somehow juggle various short-term entertainments without leaving anyone upset. The other seemed to take everything seriously and outside of working led a solo lifestyle. Put them in the same room without a specific rescue and they rubbed each other the wrong way but on a mission or dealing with outsiders, they were an unstoppable team. Yet, as Arend let me see behind the outer layers, they ended up having more in common then their skill at climbing.
Alisha prided herself on her control and living life on her own terms. She left the rarified atmosphere of her family business and lifestyle because she wanted to be more than decoration. She was proud of her position as a member of Lifeline, an elite search and rescue team, because she earned that on her own without the influence of her father. Therefore, when her past showed up she tried to keep it as separate as possible from her present, even when things became more difficult. I liked that Arend included some flaws in Alisha’s otherwise strong exterior because they made her seem more human and approachable. Given her family I could see why she tended to remain private and put up walls. I do wonder what triggered her panic attack, unless it was the completely unexpected situation combined with her stress over her family. Regardless, it set the stage for so many other things to happen.
Devon also had some unexpected depths buried beneath his life-of-the-party façade. He was fiercely devoted to his job and teammates while harboring what seemed to be a one-sided attraction to Alisha. That attraction caused him to give her a little leeway, which provided the opportunity for them to actually get to know each other. Like Alisha, Devon dealt with a lack of familial understanding regarding his choice of profession, but unlike Alisha’s family they obviously loved and cared about him. His stubborn determination to make his own path certainly helped during his courtship of Alisha. I loved how he had so many different aspects to his personality.
While this story focuses on Devon and Alisha, Arend’s trademark ability to keep both the supporting cast and the overall world moving was evident. The competitive spirit seen in High Risk manifested between Devon and Alisha not to mention some other friendly rivalries. The same care and trust showed throughout the entire team was seen again in micro-detail between Devon and Alisha. With that as a backdrop, watching the extra intensity through smokin’ hot sexy times, tender moments, and times when both applied some tough love made their growing relationship standout.
I will admit that while I was reading High Passion, I thought that the external conflict was completely obvious and I was a little disappointed because I have come to expect more until I discovered that things were more complicated then they seemed. I have to admire Arend’s ability at misdirection because I was so fixated on two things that I think I missed some clues about the real reason. This does mean that I will have to go back and re-read to try to spot them which doesn’t bother me at all. I really should know better by now, tricksy authors.
Reading High Passion provided adventure, family drama, true friendships, and a very exciting and entertaining relationship between Devon, Alisha and their team. I loved visiting the Lifeline members again along with seeing accounts of their environment. I do not have any interest in climbing, but the area around Banff sounds like it is breathtakingly beautiful. Devon and Alisha were glorious to watch as they learned to trust and enjoy each other outside of their profession. Alisha also learned that the team had her back in many ways so she gained a much better family than the one that she left. I also liked how the entire team shared some solidarity at the end and grew closer because of the events of this story. With High Passion, Arend proved yet again why she is on my auto-buy and re-read list. In addition, after reading the excerpt from High Seduction I think Arend is raising the bar once again.
I give High Passion an A.