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Publisher's Summary

"Proving Ground is an intriguing story filled with tension. A strong debut." - New York Times best-selling author Laura Griffin
Screw-ups don’t get second chances. That’s what Caitlin Malone believes when she returns to Oregon after failing her first Northstar Security assignment. When she inadvertently stumbles across a plot to steal deadly pathogens from the bio-lab near her hometown, she sees a chance at redemption.
USDA Forest Ranger John ‘Mac’ MacAlistair doesn’t want to babysit the motorcycle club holding their annual rally in his national forest. To make matters worse, Caitlin is attending the rally with Mac’s estranged uncle. Having her home again brings up feelings that are better left buried.
It’s early September. Any spark will send the dry timber into a raging fire. The terrorists are counting on that distraction to work in their favor. When Caitlin is trapped by the wildfire, her only hope of rescue is pinned on Mac, the man she's tried two years to forget. Before they can share their feelings, Mac and Caitlin must first escape the burning forest and stop the terrorists from releasing the deadly pathogens.
©2015 Stanalei Fletcher (P)2018 Stanalei Fletcher
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Heather North on 03-10-18

Action packed

Loved this fast paced listen. Lots of action that kept me hooked from start to finish and just a touch of romance made it hard to take my headphones off! Loved the narrator, he did an amazing job of bringing the characters and story to life. I received a free review copy of this audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Erryn Barratt on 03-05-18

Promising first book in a series

Several of my friends have been encouraging me to read Stanalei Fletcher’s Northstar Security Services books. I have them all, but I rarely have time to sit and read, so they were sitting quietly on my e-reader, patiently waiting. When I saw the first book was on audio? I pounced.

I want to address the narration first because it was problematic for me. Now, I understand that often authors have little or no control on who they are able to secure as a narrator. Given that the character of Caitlin Malone was clearly the main character, I was expecting a female narrator. Now, Sandra Brown uses male narrators for her thrillers, so I have heard this done. And Charles Henderson Norman was perfectly competent. He mispronounced a few words, but that’s me being picky. Certainly the errors didn’t pull me too far out of the story. Putting his work in context, I believe he did a good job. I certainly won’t hesitate to listen to another book narrated by him.

I love the romantic suspense subgenre of romance and this book was a good example of what can make a book enjoyable. I love kick-ass heroines and Caitlin is just such a woman. Occasionally she does questionable things, but she admits her mistakes and owns up to them, accepting the consequences. Winding up back in her hometown, on her father’s doorstep, is not her idea of fun. It is the true punishment it is meant to be.

But going home is never simple. She almost immediately runs into John “Mac” MacAlistair, the man she once gave her heart and body to. It turns out he’s been staying with her father and wants her to reunite with her estranged father. And Caitlin wants Mac to give Jack a chance for redemption. Mac blames his Uncle Jack for the death of Mac’s parents and hasn’t spoken to the man since.

Against this backdrop, there is a massive forest fire, a lethal virus, a terrorist, and a loving husband whose wife is dying. The synopsis of the book gives the reader a good idea of all the elements of the book, but the twists and turns are what draw the reader in. There are frequent point of view changes, and although they are clearly delineated, the listener has to pay attention. I liked that I got different people’s perspectives on this situation. Often in romance you only get the hero and heroine’s points of view. This book, as a suspense, benefits from showing diverse characters’ inner motivations and conflicts.

I enjoyed the book. Charles Henderson Norman’s Irish brogue was great and the story carried me through. Did I find all Caitlin’s actions realistic? Not necessarily, but that’s the great thing about fiction. I can’t wait to listen to the next book!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By A D. on 02-09-18

A strong start to suspense-filled series!

I enjoy suspense-filled stories with strong female characters who are simultaneously bad-assed and vulnerable. This story did not disappoint. Caitlin is wonderfully beautiful, flawed, strong and vulnerable. She has to return home after a botched job with Northstar Security. She has to face her estranged father, who is unwell and in the hospital. She has to also address her history with Mac, the love of her life and the man who rejected her after one night of passion.

There is a lot going on in this book. There are the repercussions of her failed job, her challenged relationships but also Caroline's own personal insecurities. Mac also has his own demons to address. Throw in a biker rally, a raging forest fire, the potential threat of a bio-terrorist and so much more. The result is a detailed, fast-paced plot and a strong start to this series.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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