Saturday, January 1, 2000

"Blind Sided: Team Red, Book 5" by T. Hammond

The house is full of Mustangs, and the Wild Horse Compound, now affectionately referred to as Mustang Ranch, is only a few weeks away from completion. There is a feeling of security, yet not—Teresa’s anxiety attacks seem to disregard logic. Thankfully, the Team Red detail understands and supports her as she battles unseen demons.

Marcia and Wes have moved to Spokane, and the cancer vigil begins; her final wish is to see her son celebrate his 10th birthday. Compassionate friends, Janey, Ken, Tara, and Jason, take over Marcia’s care in an effort to relieve stress as Teresa wages her struggle against PTSD nightmares and paranoia. Tank bonds with Wes as the sad young boy watches his mom slip away.

Bastian is at an undisclosed East Coast location doing PreClan military software upgrades. At home, David is exerting subtle, yet unrelenting pressure to give him a second chance. Will David's obsessive behavior completely destroy the tenuous balance of his relationship with her and Bas?

Teresa takes comfort in Red’s constant and supportive presence. His antics and doggy wisdom keep her smiling as she waits not-so-patiently for Bastian to return.

This version of the series is INTENDED FOR MATURE ADULTS OVER 18. Blind-sided contains graphic sexual content, and swearing, which is unfortunate as the dog repeats everything.

NOTE: Blind-sided is a novella, 25,000+ words. Your purchase also includes, Blush, a novella previously published in the Shades of Pink, Vol. 2 Anthology-- this story has been expanded.

My review:
Blind-sided is a novella-sized addition to the Team Red series.  The author indicates at the end of the book that medical issues forced her to shorten this part of the story, and she explains that Book 6 will wrap up all the unresolved issues and complete the story of Teresa and Team Red.  While the ending of Blind-sided was definitely abrupt, it's forgivable understanding the author's challenge, and her commitment to ending the series in Book 6.  
That said, Blind-sided was not without its own twists and turns. We really get to see a new side of Teresa as she engages in activities with the "Mustangs" and some of the activities that Bastian and David have been engaged in.  Teresa provides a breath of fresh air to these activities and I really enjoyed when Teresa indicated that the problem at hand could just be resolved "if the men would bother to just stop and ask directions".  And she's right.  Throughout the development of these aspects of the story, we get to experience exactly how Bastian sees and treats Teresa as an equal, and not just someone he wants to take care of.  Bastian understands that engaging Teresa in that type of professional relationship will introduce additional complexity to their personal relationship, but it also shows a level of trust and confidence in Teresa that David never demonstrated.
David appears to be continuing on a downward spiral with regards to his feelings for Teresa.  His reaction to the developing relationship between Bastian and Teresa appears volatile and raises concerns among the other team members in the house.  It also causes me to dislike him more and more.  By the end of this book, I'm not sure if David has come to accept his fate, or has future plans to re-engage Teresa that we'll come to see in the last book.
Frost continues to be a favorite character of mine.  A few "Frost-isms" that I really enjoyed in this book:
  • "Can shoot him. Hide the body. Our secret"
  • "Thinkin' David contains 'nough cubic feet to fertilize the garden by the pond. Wanna hole dug?" 
  • "Easy 'nough to dig two holes as one.  Elm could use the fertilizer."
Have I mentioned that I LOVE Frost?!
Bastian continues to be a calming influence in Teresa's life and demonstrated his commitment to her by going way out of his way to support her in a difficult situation. He continues to demonstrate that his love for Teresa is deep and heartfelt and Teresa understands that and loves him for the way he loves her. Their deepening relationship is reflected in a number of unique ways that I look forward to the author continuing to explore in Book 6.
 In Blind-Sided, the author has definitely established a few interesting situations and scenarios that I look forward to seeing resolved in Book 6 of the Team Red series.
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"Blind Rage: Team Red, Book 4" by T. Hammond

Fifteen months ago, an accident left Teresa March scarred and completely blind. Having chosen David after a lively Siege to win her love, Teresa was stunned by his admission, and subsequent desertion, on Christmas Eve.

Bastian Declan, David’s business partner and Teresa’s childhood friend, has loved Teresa for years. He wastes no time seizing this new opportunity to finally win her heart.

While David is stuck in Boston hoping to resolve the conflict and restore his relationship with Teresa, PreClan’s top-secret surveillance system is at a critical stage. Tension is high, and the house is full of very capable guards, after another foiled attempt to steal the technology. Teresa, vacillating between hurt at David’s deception, and wonder at Bastian’s potential, doesn’t fully appreciate the danger. 

Teresa’s service dog, Red, is smart, opinionated, handsome, and can talk. Well, at least to Teresa anyway. Understandably excited by all the activity, will his vigilance and unique bond with Teresa be enough to keep her safe? 

BLIND RAGE picks up where Blind Faith (book three) left off. While Bastian patiently shows Teresa he can be the partner she needs, they both want closure regarding her relationship with David. Will Teresa choose to forgive David, or will she open herself up to the possibility of a more tumultuous love?


Blind Rage will have you gasping in shock, sad with empathy, and Laughing-Out-Loud (literally- some readers caution you should not eat or drink while reading, or you will be spewing food/liquids when you get to the funny parts... err, which make up a large portions of the book). This version of the series is INTENDED FOR MATURE ADULTS OVER 18. Contains graphic sexual content, and swearing, which is unfortunate as the dog repeats everything.

My review:
In Blind Rage we pick up where Blind Faith leaves off.  Bastian and Teresa are continuing to try and navigate the beginning of a relationship while Teresa desperately waits for David to return so that she can gain the closure that she needs.  The author has continued to depict Teresa as a strong woman who is able to think clearly in times of stress or struggle.  She demonstrates the ability to think on her feet and leverage her skills and her smarts when she needs to.  In this installment, we also begin to see the development of an empathic link between Teresa and Red as she begins to FEEL some of the emotions that Red is feeling.  I think it's quite funny when she feels Red's happiness at getting a good scratch - which are available in spades in the Team Red house.  The cast of characters has grown significantly in Blind Rage as the product being developed by Bastian and David comes closer to delivery to the government.  Both security for Teresa and Red as well as the full introduction of a team of former military personnel to supplement David and Bastian's effort makes for a full house. I love how the author accommodated all these new characters in Teresa's house and Teresa's life in several ways - several times throughout the book, as a scene comes to a close, you'll hear the characters say "Bastian out" or "Jeeves out" as a way for the men to let Teresa know they were leaving (or coming into) the room.  Teresa has thought out loud that she needs to write down all the men, their real names, and their call signs - so you find a small appendix in the back of the book where the author did just that.
Of all of the new characters being introduced in this story, I believe that Frost is my favorite.  Frost speaks in abbreviated sentences - often leaving out nouns and verbs, and most certainly articles, if he feels they aren't necessary to make his point. He is truly a man of few words.  But his words are endearing to us as a reader and to Teresa.  He has a dry wit and a keen ability to speak his mind in a way that comes across funny to the reader.  In this book, I really felt a deepening connection to the characters and really felt I was part of this story.
Tanks hijinks continue to confound the residents of the house, including Red.  He finds himself (his dog self, that is) frequently apologizing and showing genuine remorse for things that Tank does - he's taking his raising of Tank seriously.  And he is so excited for the newest resident in the house - "The Boy".  David returns and brings Marcia and Wes (The Boy) with him.  Red firmly believes that the boy was brought for him, because he needed more people to play with. Red continues to endear himself to the readers as he is truly a part of this family, and a part of Teresa.  I could feel the love between them as they were first able to reestablish their mental and visual connections after being apart and how both of them used that connection to solve their imminent problem.
While the return of David means that Teresa can finally get the closure that she needs, I'm really coming to dislike David more and more.  It's clear that he's remorseful for his actions but that doesn't excuse the behavior, and the verbal slips that he continues to exhibit upon his return.  He's not the David I fell in love with in Blind Seduction.  We see much less of his humor and his gregarious personality and he becomes much more brooding.  Quite a personality "Freaky Friday" between Bastian and David from the beginning of the series until now.
Teresa and Bastian are finally able to consummate their relationship.  Once again, the scenes are well written and don't take away from the over arching story line.  They are again quite detailed and not for the "faint of heart" when it comes to reading intimacy in romance novels but I appreciate how well they are woven into the story. 
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"Blind Faith: Team Red, Book 3" by T. Hammond

Picking up where Color Blind (book two) left off, Teresa is reeling as her life comes crashing down around her. Betrayal of the worst kind has left her struggling to put on a brave front, setting aside shocked confusion, for the sake of those she cares about. Her telepathic sight dog, Red, and Bastian, help to anchor her against turbulent emotions.

Teresa’s colorful and varied friends arrive to celebrate Christmas as the “family” they have become. Some know her heart is broken, while others are oblivious to its tattered state. Thoughtful gifts are in abundance, including several wonderful surprises. Even Red gets into the festivities with surprising insight (and a bit of doggy logic).

Bastian has remained steadfast in his love and loyalty to Teresa, even when she chose David over him. But David has been living a lie, throwing all Teresa thought she knew into question. Can Bas prove to Teresa that he is worthy?

This version of the Team Red series is INTENDED FOR MATURE ADULTS OVER 18. Contains graphic sexual content, and swearing, which is unfortunate as the dog repeats everything.

My review:
Blind Faith might as well have been just part of the previous book as the story picked up right where the previous book left off.  In Blind Faith, we continue to see exactly how strong Teresa has become as she faces new emotional struggles.  This book might have been the most emotional of the ones in the series so far, with a lot of highs and lows.  The "family" around Teresa, Red, Bastian, and David continue to contribute to the stories, but in Blind Faith the focus is on the relationship between Bastian and Teresa. Through words and actions, Bastian continues to show Teresa exactly how deep his feelings run for her as he supports her through her heartbreak.  I really love that Bastian has a self-awareness of his own potential relationship shortfalls and spends time to ensure Teresa understands that his actions in those cases will be more of a reflection of him and who he is, and not a reflection of his feelings for her, which we really come to understand exactly how deep they run.  I ended Blind Faith clearly in the "Team Bastian" camp and really enjoyed how the author worked to develop this relationship differently from Teresa's relationship with Bastian.
Blind Faith has a lot of "laugh out loud" parts as well.  I really enjoyed the conversation between Janey and Teresa, about Janey's concerns over Teresa and Bastian's relationship.  Janey tried to find a tactful way to ask if Teresa, David, and Bastian were part of a threesome!  I could really feel Janey's discomfort throughout that conversation - and then to realize that Bastian was hearing the entire thing.  I LOVED that Bastian's reaction was so succinct.  He walks in and says, "Seems we have a few more matters to clear up.  Now's a good time for me".  He then grabs Teresa and takes her upstairs.  I LOVE that he wasn't offended or upset - that it took it to mean literally that there were parts of their developing relationship that still needed talking through.  I think I fell in love with Bastian right then! But don't get me wrong, Bastian has a devilish side and we see his sense of humor often reflected in his witty comebacks and responses in conversations with Teresa.  Bastian is no longer a boor and I really love him!
And then we met Tank.  Everyone in the family has gotten Red presents for Christmas - he's a vital member of the family.  His most important present, however, was Tank. Tank is a blood brother from a different litter.  Tank is not another dog for Teresa - Tank is Red's dog and it's up to Red to raise and teach and manage Tank.  You really get to see so much more of Red's personality as he begins his raising of Tank and how the other members of the family have to help him understand the important aspects of having a new puppy in the house!  Red has some really great ideas about how to incorporate Tank into their family and their home.  He continues to be my favorite character in these books! 
 One slight annoyance - it is really bugging me that Teresa looks different on each of the covers.  I know how cover art works and sometimes the author has no control over it, but its clear that these books are about the same characters in the same series, yet Teresa looks different.  Similar but clearly not the same.  Just bugs me - so there, I've said it!
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"Color Blind: Team Red, Book 2" by T Hammond

Blinded and scarred in an accident a year ago, Teresa has finally found love, and a new career with the help of her companion dog, Red. Red appears to be a typical German shepherd, but he shares a mental communication link with his owner that is anything but ordinary. He’s articulate, sassy and opinionated - he’s also scary-smart, and has a talent for tracking. 

Teresa and Red, have partnered with David, and Bastian, to form Team Red. This unique Team helps the local police department sift through evidence to find forensic clues that only Red's sensitive nose, and Teresa's ability to ask the right questions can uncover. A twist of fate brings Team Red to the attention of the Military, and the Team gets ready for their first undercover mission (we can only divulge at this point that Red looks adorable in his tux).

WARNING: This book is a Laugh-Out-Loud paranormal extra spicy romance (Yes, I’ve boldly meshed humor and sex *gasp!*). This Team Red book contains a feisty blind woman with a sassy attitude; a snarky German shepherd who stalks low flying objects (and the occasional cat); two sexy retired Navy men with a talent for tactical planning; a man-cave with secret tunnels and classified military toys; a formal invitation to a black and white ball; Marilyn Monroe; and a herd of Mustangs (okay, maybe ‘herd’ is a slight exaggeration). This book is INTENDED FOR MATURE ADULTS OVER 18. Sexual situations and adult language were used (and abused) in the making of this novel.

My review:
Color Blind is the 2nd book in the Team Red series.  In this book, the author really increases the intensity of the suspenseful aspects of the story with the introduction of the military interest in their work, and the risks associated with Teresa and Red's ability.  I really enjoyed reading the suspense story lines and loved how Teresa continued to demonstrate her strength in facing the real threats to her physical well-being.
Throughout this book, Teresa's relationship with David deepens and we see how that relationship has an effect on Bastian.  Teresa overhears a conversation between Bastian and David that show just how much Bastian actually loves Teresa.  He demonstrates this in his conversation with David in how it feels to see them together and how he stepped aside in favor of David as soon as he realized that her love was for David.  This shows TRUE love - a love willing to sacrifice for the happiness of the other. I spent most of the first book clearly on the "Team David" team but found Bastian endearing himself to me more and more in Color Blind. When he was introduced in Blind Seduction, he came across as arrogant, rude, and a bit of a "man-ho" but in Color Blind, you really begin to get to know the Bastian underneath, and I've really come to like him.
The title Color Blind is quite appropriate for this book as we find that Teresa and Red's connection extends beyond her hearing his thoughts - she finds that she is now able to SEE through Red's eyes.  He is truly her seeing eye dog! Once we learned of this new connection between Teresa and Red, I found myself as anxious as Teresa to see David for the first time, and to see Bastian, who she hadn't seen in a decade.  I think I cried along with her when she began seeing through Red's eyes.  What a wonderful gift.
Color Blind ends with a cliffhanger - as David drops a bombshell on Teresa.  As the book ends, we are left to wonder what happens next to Teresa, Bastian, and David as she begins to process this revelation. I found myself anxiously acquiring the next book to continue the story of Teresa, Red, Bastian, and David. 
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"Blind Seduction: Team Red, Book 1" by T. Hammond

Can a blind woman who shares a very special bond with her dog, gain her independence and choose between the love of TWO sailors? 

In Blind Seduction an accident leaves Teresa March scarred and completely blind. Encouraged by the support of her friends, Teresa sets about adapting to life in the dark, reclaiming her independence.

Best friends make the toughest adversaries. Sebastian Declan and David Preston retire after twenty years of service to their country. Teresa’s scars discourage neither man in their newest mission: winning her heart. Bastian’s battle is uphill, overcoming Teresa’s negative teenage impression. David is a virtual stranger who fell in love with Teresa through Bas’ pictures and childhood stories. These sexy sailors will stop at nothing, including deploying military tactics, to secure Teresa for themselves.

Smart, opinionated, and handsome commonly describe German Shepherds. Teresa’s service dog, Red, is all this, and then some. Red and Teresa are surprised to discover they share a bond which allows Red to speak into Teresa’s mind. Red’s adept tracking skills, and ability to deduce information, open new opportunities for the pair. More importantly, his quirky humor brightens Teresa’s dark world.

Welcome to Team Red!
You will laugh out loud (the author apologizes in advance for the strange looks you will get when you start to giggle uncontrollably), in this Humorous, Spicy, Paranormal Romance.

WARNING: This book is INTENDED FOR MATURE ADULTS OVER 18. Contains swearing, which is unfortunate, as the dog repeats everything. When you have two hot, single-minded, sailors pursuing the same woman, graphic language and sexual situations are inevitable.

My review:
Blind Seduction is the first book in a 6 books series about Teresa and her dog Red.  I typically don't like to read books in a series that include cliffhangers - I prefer the story to be completed in one volume and if related volumes are written, that's great.  Blind Seduction is part of a larger series and there are more books that continue this series, but the author does provide a decent sense of closure at the end of the first book...she provides a teaser to get you interested in the second book, but you won't feel that its incomplete when the finish the first book.  While I was definitely interested in what the next book had to offer to the story line, I felt a nice sense of closure at the end of this book.
This book and the books that follows have a core group of characters with supporting characters coming in and out of the story.  Red, however, is the hero in all of these books!  Red is a German Shepherd, born on the day of Teresa's accident that blinded her, that has amazing abilities to connect with Teresa.  These abilities are revealed over time to Teresa as she and Red form and deepen their relationship.  Red has a wicked sense of humor, picks up sarcasm and jokes better than most humans,  and has zero filter - he's known for repeating anything he hears and often at the most inopportune time.  Although only Teresa can hear this thoughts, the entire family forms a bond with Red.  Red is extremely intelligent and his deductive reasoning is highly advanced - I was constantly amazed with what he was able to discern, analyze, and conclude with his observation - and he's a dog!
Teresa is a strong, confident woman who demonstrates over and over that she can persevere through many challenges.  She has deep emotions and loves with her whole heart, which is what opens her up to being hurt so easily. She is also fiercely loyal and compassionate and a great heroine for these books. The author did a wonderful job of creating a heroine that we as readers can relate to, connect with, and cheer for!
We are also introduced to Bastian and David in Blind Seduction.  Bastian and David are both "alpha males" and both have set their sites on Teresa - The Seige of Teresa March has begun.  I found myself laughing out loud several times as Bastian and David found ways to scuttle each other's dates with Teresa, using all resources (including some technological ones) to shanghai the other's chances!  In the end, Teresa went with her heart and moved forward to deepen the relationship that she believes will lead to a long term commitment and love in her life.  
Throughout this book, we see snippets of risk and suspense as Teresa and Red, and David and Bastian navigate the challenges of the new abilities they have discovered in Red; David and Bastian's work; and the exposure of Red and Teresa's abilities to the local police department.  These suspenseful and dangerous situation set the stage for incredibly suspenseful stories in future books. 
The intimacy scenes are well written - they are somewhat explicit, as warned in the description, but they don't overwhelm the book with continued sexual content.  It's introduced as appropriate to the story line and while it supports the story line, it's not the focus of the story line - the relationship between Red and the family / team, and the relationships forming between Teresa and the men in her life and the situations that bring them closer together are the primary focus of the book and the balance creates a well written book that was an easy read, front to back.  I look forward to the next book in the Team Red series! 
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