Taking Fire - Lindsay McKenna

Series: Shadow Warriors (Book 7)

She dances on the edge of life…and death


Not all are meant to walk in the light. Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari lives among the shadows of the rocky Afghani hills, a Shadow Warrior by name and by nature. She works alone, undercover and undetected -- until a small team of US Navy SEALs are set upon by the Taliban…and Khat is forced to disobey orders to save their lives.


To go rogue.


Now, hidden deep in the hills with injured SEAL Michael Tarik in her care, Khat learns that he's more than just a sailor. In him, she sees something of herself and of what she could be. Now duty faces off against the raw, overwhelming attraction she has for Mike. And she must decide between the safety of the shadows…and risking everything by stepping into the light.


Loved this book. It started out intense and maintained the tension throughout the story. Khat is a Marine Corps sniper and a member of the top secret Shadow Warriors, women who have been trained as special forces operators. She has been working in the Hindu Kush mountains, harassing the Taliban and bringing aid to some of the villages. While out on a mission she saw a SEAL team that was about to be ambushed and stepped in to help them. Three of the SEALs get away, but the fourth is injured and Khat gets him to her hideout. Suffering from a concussion and a broken arm, Mike Tarik is stunned by the beauty of the woman who rescued him. He is also puzzled by who and what she is, and determined to get to the truth. 


I loved both Khat and Mike. Khat is a very complex woman. She is the daughter of an Afghani man and an American woman and raised in the US. Her father is from a village in the area where she works. Five years earlier she had been captured and tortured for a month before she was rescued. The things she has gone through since then have made her an incredibly strong woman. She is determined to do everything she can to help and protect the people around her. She has sworn off men, believing that there isn't one who can accept her for who she is, scars and all. 


I liked the way that Mike saw past her scars from the beginning. He's attracted and fascinated, and in spite of knowing how capable she is, he is also protective. Mike is the son of a Saudi man and an American woman, and understands Khat's passion for her people. When he gets back to his base, he can't get her off his mind. 


There's a strong attraction between them. A passionate kiss from Mike before he returned to his base has got Khat's emotions in an uproar. She has spent five years emotionally shut down, and suddenly she's got feelings that are all over the place, but centered on Mike. She is torn by her feelings for him and her need to continue her mission. Mike knows that she's the woman for him. He has great respect for what she has been doing, but is also very worried about her. Khat has never really dealt with the things that happened to her, and has taken refuge in burying herself in her work. He sees the stress that she is under and fears that she is on the edge of disaster. 


I loved Mike's way of trying to take care of Khat while still allowing her to be who she is. He doesn't try to force her to do anything, but gives her the space to see what she needs to do. I especially loved his patience, and how he made sure that she knew that he was there for her and nothing was going to drive him away. I loved the support he got from his fellow SEALs and how they all worked together to take care of her. That support is critical at the end when Khat's in trouble and it takes a group effort to get her through it.


Khat has fallen hard for Mike too, but her inner conflict over what she should do is tearing her up. I liked seeing how close she was to her Afghani aunt, and the trust she showed in Mike as she took him to meet her family. I loved her aunt and her straightforward talk about Khat and to her and the effect it has on Khat and her decision making. When she ends up in a life or death situation she finally sees where her heart is leading her.


There was a great section where Khat and Mike go to stay with Emma and Khalid (Operation: Forbidden). I loved catching up with them, but they also play a big part in Mike's understanding of Khat. Because Khalid is so much like Khat, Emma is able to give Mike a better idea of what has made Khat the woman she is. Being away from danger also gives Khat and Mike the opportunity to learn more about each other and explore the passion that is growing between them. There may also be some changes coming for Emma and Khalid and I hope to find out more about those.