I had the distinct pleasure of reading pre-release copy of Sonia Hightower’s Afterburn. Afterburn is a story about two people who come together despite their cautions and differences, and triumph through both internal and external pressures.
Their love burns hot, but will it stay fueled?
Crystal is an enlisted mechanic with a tragic past. Grant is an officer and a pilot with a broken heart. When faced with a difficult decision, will Crystal choose wisely or lose the best thing that ever happened to her?
The love between them burns hot, but their relationship won’t stay fueled if they can’t beat the obstacles that stand in their way. Besides breaking the fraternization rules, Grant and Crystal have the difference of race between them…but can they prove to the rest of the world, and to each other, that love is color blind?
Afterburn is about overcoming one’s past, not judging others, learning to forgive, and what it’s like to be a woman in a “man’s world.”
I truly enjoyed this book. Though it was a novella, Ms. Hightower was able to give a concise and thorough thumbnail sketch of the main characters, giving us enough information through prologue to understand how they became the people they are when the main story begins. In addition, she is able to convey their motivations through their actions – it’s clear that these are two very strong willed people who have to learn to give a little to get a lot.
I think what I most liked about this book was the way Ms. Hightower drew us into the world of the Air Force, affording the reader an inside peek at what really goes on at the bases. The subplot of sexual harassment, racial intolerance and how it is addressed by the various characters was handled very well, allowing a secondary character room to grow in the story.
Ms. Hightower added enough detail about the military and how it works (sometimes well, sometimes..not so well) in the protection and support of women. She didn’t hold back with the descriptions of what could (and probably does) go on behind military doors. However, she doesn’t bash, she also shows how the individual and the system can work together for the greater good. In addition, the reader will learn a lot about military jets – I was fascinated by some of the facts that she conveyed in the story.
Even with all that, Ms. Hightower still manages to keep us focused on the romance. Much of the conflict between Crystal and Grant have nothing to do with their race, but the fact that they have both been hurt in the past and/or they have unresolved fears, in addition to some external pressures. Through it all, though, I think that Crystal and Grant both did a little growing and a little healing too. I won’t give away too much, because I don’t want to rob the reader of the joy of the story unfolding.
One thing I would have liked more of was a “peek behind the curtain” of the male supporting characters, perhaps give us a little insight into their behavior. But that’s just me seeking more information. 🙂
All in all, I would recommend this book as a hot (but way sweet) romance with a military setting.