Title: Bannerís Bonus
Author: Carole Ann Lee
Published in June 2008 by Awe-Struck E-books, Inc.
Nick Banner has known Jonathan Loring for years, and yet the urgency in the manís eyes is unmistakable. There is something seriously amiss at LorTec, and Nick is quite aware that is the reason he is being called. Ominous threats on the company pale next to the threat intimated by an overheard conversation, the threat and the innocent toward whom it is directed. He has to cringe as to the meaning, for he knows that Loring will go to great lengths and even greater expense to protect his daughter. He also knows Loring trusts him implicitly, and Nick wonders how long that situation will last. Being a cargo hauler has its advantages and it rewards, but having someone along, confined to such a small space for any amount of time, especially if you didnít get along, is something he doesnít want to even think about. That Jonathan would trust him with his willful and spoiled daughter is one thing, but Nick is not sure he can abide her presence for that long. Security cargo or not, Echo is a long haul, then to bring her back as well, too long by Nickís reckoning.
The last thing he needs is this situation, but Loring is desperate, and Nick can read the panic in the usually steady and controlled manís every move. He is a friend and mentor, and Nick owes him a lot. There is more than just gratitude to Loring, to move Nick into agreement. He has been a steadying force in Nickís life, and along with another acquaintance of his, helped Nick out of the rut he had dug himself into after his fiancťís betrayal. Now the thought of having Tressa Loring on board for six weeks or more makes him cringe, but he could not turn Jonathan down. What he is not prepared for, is the young woman who is now gracing the formerly empty crew cabin down the hall. There is blessed little privacy onboard the cargo vessel, the majority of the space used to hold the supplies and the freight he hauls for LorTec and other clients. She resembles the child he knew, but maturity has added dimension to her. Let her know whose boss was the advice he had from Jonathan, but he had things all wrong. Setting down rules for her was the last thing he should have done, and Nick is paying for it in spades. Tressa really doesnít like his rulesÖ
Headstrong and willful were only two of the descriptions that had dogged Tressa Loring all her life. She has to admit that those accusations are true, but spoiled? That one she can argue with strongly. Yes, she had gotten her way in most things, but she still realizes that not all can go her way. Something she wasnít counting on is the trip with Nick Banner. He has been in her dreams ever since she was a child and he was nothing but an upstart pilot of twenty some years. Handsome as sin, hard-bodied, cynical, and definitely the man of many womenís dreams, Nick Banner was, and still is, her worst nightmare and her most ardent desire. She canít understand why her father insists that she accompany this particular security shipment to Echo and their mining branch located there. This time in space, trapped alone with Nick is neither her idea of a pleasure trip, nor even a business trip for that matter. The problem is hers, and it is one she will have to solve or get over.
Yes she knows that many people consider her willful, rich, spoiled, and immature, but Tressa doesnít give that a thought when it comes to Nick. She has a very big problem now and that is to keep him from knowing the childhood crush she had on him is still alive and well and heating her more than she really wants to admit. She needs to keep her distance, after all, she is an engaged woman and shouldnít even be thinking about Nick as more than a friend or an acquaintance. There is no room in his life for her and he has practically told her straight up and mincing no words as to where she stands in his life. It isnít where she wanted to be as a child, but it is immaterial now. A moot point. She should be concentrating on her fiancť. Using some of this time to plan some of the wedding details would be ideal, but she canít seem to keep her mind focused. He is always there, just outside her view, and although his behaviour is anything but gentlemanly, her instincts tell her not to trust what she sees. That is hard for her until they reach Nickís home in Acacia. Meeting the brothers is an eye-opening experience, and she learns what makes Nick and his family tick. She is not at all pleased at being left with Nickís stepmother, but when Nick is attacked and badly beaten, Tressa knows that she would move heaven, earth, Nickís family, and even her formidable father to stay forever by Nickís side.
Carole Ann Lee has reworked her wonderful futuristic tale, Bannerís Bonus, and added new depth and dimension to both Nick and Tressaís characters. What was a good tapestry before glows now with a new fullness and a brighter light. First released by BMI, this book has been greatly undervalued as a futuristic tale of danger, treachery, betrayal, and love. You have to love a handsome, disarming rogue who can charm the pants of any woman and at the same time, leave his foes bleeding in the dust. You also have to be frustrated by the willful young woman who is fighting against her desire, and the fact she is drawn to love him. Nick Banner is one of a breed of men who by association and blood are friends, family, and share a kinship that will prove itself from the offices of LorTec to the cultured society of Acacia and culminate in a gripping fight for the freedom of the one and only woman Nick will ever truly love. If you tried to tell Nick and Tressa they were meant to be together before this ill-fated adventure they would both have scoffed. But some things are just meant to be, if only they can manage to survive.
Bannerís Bonus is truly worthy of the title of romance as it takes you across the skies, the vastness of space, and into situations where many would give up completely. Carole Ann Lee has woven a brilliant tale of deception, revenge, and betrayal that leads you on an exciting and page-turning adventure. I enjoyed the original, but rereading this new work, one can see the improvements, and the subtle changes in character adding a whole new spin to things. Bannerís Bonus has maintained its original integrity, but is richer, and more insightful. It brings to light the well developed secondary characters in a way that shows this is truly a group of alpha males. Although some parade in ďsheepís clothing,Ē one cannot fail to miss the capability of each, the camaderie, cooperation and companionship they share, and the ascendancy of each in his turn. Bannerís Bonus is a delightfully rendered work, and Carole Ann Lee is to be congratulated on a rewrite well done! Look for Nick and Tressaís story at Awe-Struck Ebooks, as†this great read was†released June 13, 2008, and is available now!
Yours in good reading,