The Stranger

Anna del Mar
The Stranger
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Publisher
Carina Press
Release Date
August 2016
ISBN
9781459294301
Series
Book 2 of A Wounded Warrior Novel
Genre
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

SUMMARY
When a mysterious stranger is your only hope…

The scars of the past have left their mark, both physical and emotional, on former military pilot Seth Erickson. Off-grid in the far reaches of the bitter Alaskan wilderness, he wants only to be left alone with his ghosts. But he can't ignore a woman in need—beautiful, stranded and nearly frozen with fear.

Summer Silva never imagined that the search for her missing sister would leave her abandoned on a wintry back road, barely escaping with her life from a cold-blooded killer for hire. Now, hiding out in the isolated cabin of the secretive wounded warrior who saved her, Summer knows she must do what she fears most. Putting her trust in a stranger is all she has left.

All defenses are down

After a fiery first night together, Seth and Summer are bound by a need as powerful as a Bering Sea superstorm—and vulnerable to enemies just as fierce. For Seth, reawakened by desire, there is no sacrifice too great, no memory too dark, to keep Summer safe. But murder and treason lurk everywhere and Summer may not survive Alaska's ruthless winter.

Book two of the Wounded Warrior series

This book is approximately 110,000 words

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Aug 11, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
139 people found the following review helpful
Ms. del Mar's story made me want to move to a frozen tundra (of course, it's 93 degree and miserable right now so that may have something to do with it). Her descriptions of Alaska were so vivid and gorgeous that I was legit looking at jobs.

When Seth Erickson stumbles upon a half frozen, injured woman in the middle of nowhere in an Alaskan snowstorm, he's immediately suspicious. It would be just like his asshat cousin to set him up. Summer Silva obviously didn't think things through before dropping everything to search for her missing sister, but her luck has been nothing but bad since landing in Alaska. This brooding, angry, distrustful man who's saved her life should scare the bones out of her, but she feels strangely safe and protected in his presence.

Threats to both of them forces Seth and Summer to work together to find Summer's sister and save Seth's business reputation, and somewhere along the way, love blooms. When push comes to shove, will their new relationship survive the deviousness of those who want to harm them?

I'm obsessed with the frozen, dangerous story that Ms. del Mar has crafted about fire and ice, and it was fantastic! Seth is an Alaskan engineer, a former MILITARY pilot, injured from battle and still dealing with the horrors he faced in Afghanistan. Summer is the light to his dark, a hot tempered and fiery Florida architect who stumbled into his home and his bed and upended his life. Summer has a sleep disorder that has dictated her entire life, every choice she's made. In Seth, she finds someone she can trust with her nocturnal world, and in turn, he finds someone he can trust with his wounds and his heart. The two make an unlikely pair: hot and cold, fire and ice, but they're both passionate people who fiercely stand up for those they love.

The chemistry between them could melt the polar ice cap, and the sex scenes, while not hugely erotic, were well written and very sexy nonetheless. I liked the dual suspense plots of the deviousness of Seth's family and the attempts on Summer's life. Seth's grandma Astrid and Summer's stepmother Louise were both excellent comic relief and another unlikely pair that somehow found common ground. I'm looking forward to the next offering in this very excellent series!

Bottom Line: This second book in the Wounded Warrior series, THE STRANGER was a really great book that can be read independently of others in the series. Highly recommend!
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Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Sep 11, 2016
140 people found the following review helpful
Reading ‘The Stranger' is akin to driving along several miles of straight road interspersed with the occasional slight chicane and curve on the uphill or the downhill portion before it straightens out again. Amidst the stunning but harsh Alaskan wilderness, Summer's and Seth's backstories build from opposing directions, but somehow, somewhere, the plot lost its focus. It simply wasn't tightly woven enough; Summer's search for her sister became lost in Seth's own company woes and for long stretches I had no idea where everything was heading to at all until the mystery and the action returned only full force towards the end.

This sense of discontinuity from the alternating first person POV and the lack of flow between chapters, made the story hard to latch onto. By the time I crossed the halfway mark, I started skimmed, tired of the banter, the seemingly inconsequential plot turns that felt like dead ends and the characters who somehow don't seem sufficiently stable to be grounded as leads. But Seth Erickson is more than just a grouchy ex-military pilot with PTSD; he's one who looms so large that he might as well be an Avenger-type superhero, like Christian Grey with more physical scars and less kink tendencies - whose heroic deeds, lauded by all, could only be matched by Superman's.

The contrast between the near-untouchable Seth and Summer was yet another gap that the book tried to bridge with several scenes that I thought over-inflated the plot instead. Parts of Summer's dialogue and state of mind - don't even get me started about that bloody weird sleepwalking and aura business - that made her seem more like a spoiled, headstrong teenager who attracts trouble than the independent, mature woman that the author wants to portray. Her decision to trust Seth's own nemesis towards the end - then hoping that Seth would forgive her - made me wince at her at the peak of idiocy. Most other secondary characters felt like caricatures that somehow defined themselves as starched up Downton Abbey tossers, alley trash or moustache-twirling cackling villains.

I wish I could have liked this as much as I did the first in the series, which felt more raw and gutting and perhaps, closer to what I'd expect of the romantic suspense genre. Ultimately, I struggled through the pages of 'The Stranger', convinced that the first person POV and the drifting plot did the whole book a disservice, making the story more New-adultish and consequently, more juvenile than it should feel.
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