Jason Kent was orphaned as a child, so family has always had a special meaning for him. Following his military service he became a mercenary, and with the wealth he gained from that profession and a knack for wise investing, he opened an orphanage for special needs kids in the mountains of Montana. He also bought a Gothic mansion for himself there, hoping to one day have a family of his own to live in it with him. But that dream was shattered when he was badly wounded during his last mission, leaving him permanently disfigured. Fearing that his scars would only scare the children and that he would no longer be a fit husband for any woman, he retreated to his home to live out his life in seclusion until a determined reporter shows up on his doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm.
Angie Rose was sent to Montana to do a story on Jason's orphanage, but because of painful events in her own past, she doesn't think she can face the children. Instead, she decides the real story is to be found in the mysterious, reclusive millionaire himself. Hoping to interview the man in question, she makes her way up the mountain, only to become stranded when her car breaks down while a snowstorm rages outside. Making the rest of her way on foot, Angie is nearly frozen when she finally reaches Jason's home. At first she isn't sure he's going to let her in, but eventually he extends his hospitality, albeit in a rather gruff manner. When they find themselves stuck together in the mansion for more than a week, Jason gradually opens up to Angie, leaving her with the certainty that she cannot betray his trust by writing the story she'd planned. But when a little munchkin from the orphanage runs away, ending up at Jason's mansion, and creating a cozy picture of home and family that draws Jason and Angie together, can Angie learn to trust Jason enough to reveal her secrets as well?
Lt. Kent: Lone Wolf has been on my TBR list for a verrry long time. I think it first came to my attention back when I was still active on the Amazon discussion forums before I joined GoodReads. I think someone may have posted it among a list of suggested titles that had a scarred, wounded warrior hero, which is a favorite character trope of mine. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. This is a low-key character-driven story in which our hero and heroine end up snowed in at his Gothic mountaintop mansion for about ten days or so (I kind of lost track of the time frame). It's mostly about them getting to know one another and each overcoming their respective hang-ups with regards to their individual imperfections and past hurts. Not a lot of excitement occurs besides the snowstorm and a little girl who keeps them both on their toes. It's just a nice easy read that would be great to curl up with in front of the fire when an actual snowstorm is raging outside.
Jason was orphaned as a child and never had a family, so a wife and children are something he's always wanted. He's an ex-military man turned mercenary who took the substantial income he received from that endeavor to fund Kent House, a group home for hard-to-place children like he once was. While he was getting the home up and running, he was very personally involved, vetting employees and such. But then a final mission left him with a scarred face and a badly injured knee that makes it impossible for him to perform certain tasks. He's also seen the fear and disgust on the faces of people with whom he's come into contact since being wounded, so he can't bring himself to visit Kent House anymore, fearing that his appearance will just scare the kids. Believing that he'll never achieve his dream of expanding the group home to additional locations and more importantly starting a family of his own, he's become a hermit, never leaving his mansion in the Rocky Mountain region of Montana that sits on the other side of the ridge from Kent House. Jason is a little gruff at first, but he turns out to be a really nice guy who's simply experienced a lot of heartache in his life. Once a perky woman invades his space looking for refuge from the storm, he slowly begins to realize that maybe his injuries aren't as frightening as he once feared. He's great husband material and also shows that he has what it takes to be a wonderful dad as well. I really admired him for his philanthropic efforts and for wanting to make a difference in the lives of unfortunate children.
Angie is a journalist who was sent to write a story on Kent House. The only problem is that she has issues with being around cute kids because of something painful lurking in her own past. She decides that the real story might lie with the man who started the children's home and heads for his mansion instead. Then a snowstorm blows in and her car breaks down on the treacherous mountain road, leaving her hiking the rest of the way, ill-prepared for the weather. Luckily for her, Jason lets her into his home even though he isn't too pleased to see her at first. Once inside, Angie learns that they're probably going to be snowed in for at least a week, so she sets about trying to get to know the man, looking for the perfect angle on her story. But the more she learns about him, the more guilty she feels for doing it. As she tries to tear down some of Jason's barriers, she finds him knocking at the door of her own heart, too, and it's a feeling she doesn't like. She knows that when the snow stops falling and the plow makes it up the mountain, it'll be time to leave it all behind. But Jason soon becomes too hard to resist. However, Angie can't seem to move beyond the past long enough to see a potential future. I was a little worried about Angie's motives in the beginning, but I was glad to see that she realized pretty quickly she would only hurt Jason and invade his privacy by submitting the story she'd been intending to write. Although I felt her falling for Jason, as well as the connection they shared, she does stubbornly hold herself at arm's length for a long time, refusing to even acknowledge that they might be a perfect match. We learn pretty early that Angie was in some kind of accident that eventually caused her fiancé to leave her at the altar, but all the specifics aren't revealed until the very end. By then I'd mostly figured out her big secret that makes her feel unworthy of Jason and that makes her uncomfortable around kids, but there were a few details that I didn't guess. I did like that once she gets beyond her issues, she proves to be pretty good mom material.
As I said, Lt. Kent: Lone Wolf is a super laid-back kind of romance that's mostly all about the two main characters. In fact, the only other character in the story is Hallie, a cute little girl from Kent House who has a few issues of her own and keeps making daring escapes when things don't go the way she wants them to. Overall, it's a fairly predictable story, and it's pretty obvious that the objective is for these three broken lost souls to bond together into a family. Despite being a tad bland, I did enjoy it. Aside from a little repetition (too much raising of eyebrows and lips turning up into a smile, etc.), the writing itself is pretty strong and easy to read. I'd say that this book would be prefect for lovers of Hallmark movies who won't mind there being one moderately descriptive love scene in it.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook