Untamed by Kimber Delaney (A Soldier’s Heart Book 2)

Genre: Military Romance/Romance Suspense

It’s taken a lot of therapy, some tears, and a few beers for Antony Ramos to get to a good place after a disaster in Afghanistan wrecked his world. He’s content with his job as a CID agent, investigating crime and keeping up a good play boy façade, but retirement is a few short years away, and he needs to look ahead.

Lesley Prosser is a quiet sort, which suits her well as an analyst in the Army, where she makes sense out of disparate bits of information. She’s had less luck with her personal life, and after a disaster of a relationship, she opts for safe and steady. Even if it’s boring.

A close dance ignites the flames between them, but work calls when Antony’s friend and coworker has been drugged. A chance meeting on post brings them back together, and they navigate an investigation, their jobs, and the attraction that consumes them both.

Their worlds collide when his past and her present threaten their future. Antony has to battle old memories to find peace within himself from the one person that destroyed it years ago, and trust that Lesley can help him tame those demons.

And when Lesley comes face to face with danger, she has to accept that she doesn’t know everything, and trust that Antony will find those missing pieces.

Untamed, an apt title for the second book in A Soldier’s Heart series, follows Antony who is very much untamed. I enjoyed reconnecting to characters I fell in love with in Wayward, while also getting to know new characters. It was a delightful read in every sense of the word. 

Because I’ve read the first book, I was pleasantly surprised to have no boring rehashing or info dumps that weren’t needed. Kimber glided over the retelling in such a way I wasn’t bored and it acted as a kind of refresher from what we learned about Simon and there was a firm middle ground and improvement as characters.

The stark differences in our lead, Antony, from the first book in Wayward to this book left me in awe. What you see in the first book, which Kimber played very well to, is our own character judgements that you realize is unfair to Antony overall. The saying don’t judge a book by its cover very much applies to Antony which leaves you more in love with him than you ever thought you’d be in the first book.

Lesley, the second lead came off strong and put together. It was an odd feeling coming off Wayward to have one of the leads well put together in life for the most part. Sure, Lesley had her past experiences that haunt her but the focus with this piece wasn’t her. It was Antony and Kimber did a great job shining the light on her just enough to have a connection but not too much that it detracts from Antony’s story.

We are introduced to a new side character, Stina, who is the complete opposite of Lesley in just about every way and this unabashedly outspoken best friend is very much what Lesley needs to bring her out of her shell. Kimber gives glimpses at the other characters you meet in Wayward to let you know those connections are still there and are important, much like your friend circle is to your life. Simon and Audrey are doing their thing while Charlie hers. Kimber writes her villains in a way that either makes you want to stab them or makes you want to take a shower to wash the skeez off.

Untamed is a solid story based in realism, with well rounded and developed characters. She is a master at what she does. If you would like to check out this must read second book, you can find it below.

Wayward by Kimber Delaney (Book 1 of the Soldier’s Heart Series)

Genre: Military Romance/Suspense Romance

The family guilt and secrets that have haunted Audrey Linser from childhood have become her armor, her excuse to keep people away. This independence has been an asset during her Army career as a CID agent in the field, until a close call ends her solo days. Now, she’s stuck at Fort Huachuca, the home of intelligence training and her childhood ghosts. All she wants is to leave—until she meets Simon.

Simon Carwell was a military brat before enlisting in the Army. He’s spent the last couple years weighed down by his own guilt after tragedy struck in Afghanistan. With some help from friends and a direct order, he’s finally getting help and coming to terms with what happened. Facing those demons has him wanting more from life than the next thrill.

Their attraction is strong, but so are their issues. And while they’re working through those, they have an even bigger problem to solve—

Who is trying to kill Audrey and why?

When I first was approached by Kimber to beta read Wayward, I had no clue the incredible journey I was about to embark on. The first book in the series, Wayward introduces us to Audrey and Simon, both damaged from past experiences that is realized through Kimber’s innate ability to channel what the reader needs to know or see. Sensitive subjects, like that of PTSD, abandonment, depression, and trust issues, are delicately handled and shine a light on the plights of not just the characters in this book but also those who battle these sorts of things. Every sentence is strategically formulated and placed to carry the readers through the process of healing with Simon and Audrey. She plays the heartstrings like a professional harpist.

While each character you meet shines in their own way, giving you a clear idea of their personalities, none shine brighter than the lead characters. The love-making scenes between the two leads are tastefully done. The balance between what the author shows us and leaves up to our own imagination is a perfect example of her knowledge of her craft and specific genre. Never once did I feel like it was too much nor overreached.

It is my belief that great works pull the reader in, making it an emotional experience. Kimber does this in spades via grounded realism and pacing. You begin to feel attached to each character and living in the moments with them. There was no part of the story that pulled me out, causing me to lose that close connection. The mystery aspects felt real world based and I even found myself trying to help solve the case in my best Sherlock Holmes manner. It says a lot about this book when I, in my infinite ADHD spoiler superpower, am whammied with the plot twist. I absolutely did not seeing it coming which lends itself to being one of my favorite reads of all time.

If you are looking for an engaging romance read that does mystery and realism like no other, this is the book for you! You will not be disappointed and left wanting more.