Holiday Heroes
by Rachel Lee & Catherine Mann
(SRS #1487, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27557-1
Holidays and the military, enlisted and officer, home and away from home are the  focus of Rachel Lee and Catherine Mann in this holiday offering.

Rachel Lee leads off in a “Soldier for All Seasons” returning home to Conard City, Wyoming. Her fans should well remember the Tate family and the antics in that county. Jon Erikson had grown up there, left to join the military and is home for leave from a tour in Afghanistan. Like so many soldiers who endure hardship posts, he has not emotionally come all the way home.

He is drinking at Mahoney’s Bar when Melinda Hawthorne spots him. She had been behind him in school and had suffered a mild crush on him then. She invites him to dinner and there the reacquaintment process begins. Melinda is a forest ranger in town for supplies, and Jon is looking for a place to camp. Their goals merge for a sort time and they are off to her deserted area together.

Melinda is slower to trust than Jon as she lives in the wilderness for a reason. Kidnapped as a teenager, held prisoner and abused for three weeks she escaped to the wilderness where she lived for months until Nate Tate and Micah Parrish found her. She has perhaps more reasons than Jon for being anti-social.

A huge storm comes and the story plays out as expected, albeit an enjoyable revisit to Wyoming.

Catherine Mann features “Christmas at his Command” and literally so as her protagonist is General Hank Renshaw, and his close friend of very long standing Senator Ginger Landis. Each is widowed with grown children, and each is pursuing powerful and high profile careers.

Ginger is in Germany on a good will tour as well as to give a family antique porcelain crèche to a medieval castle with a chapel that is being rebuilt and restored. She has had threats so Hank and his command are personally seeing to her security. He is requiring her to wear a wire, and while an aide is placing the wire on Ginger he sees her through different eyes, this time lustful eyes. He has to finish the job as the aid is clumsy and Ginger becomes aware of the chemistry in those few moments as well.

They leave the premises and are greeted by the proverbial hail of bullets. Hank protects Ginger, grabs a car and they escape. He heads toward a safe house he knows, and the rest of the story focuses on his protection, their growing awareness of each other and the happy ending.

Fans of Catherine Mann and Rachel Lee are well acquainted with their superior writing skills. Their characters are always fun, interesting and generate reader empathy. Although the plots are straightforward with few twists, both provide readers with continued enjoyment.

--Thea Davis

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