Review: Takedown by Julie Miller

takedownTitle: Takedown

Author: Julie Miller

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2010

The heroine: Physical therapist Jillian Masterson

The hero: SWAT team leader Michael Cutler

The blurb: SWAT Captain Michael Cutler’s pulse was racing. He should have been thinking about the intense hostage crisis he’d just diffused. But he couldn’t keep his mind off her–Jillian Masterson, the leggy brunette who had come to him for protection from an obsessive stalker. He certainly hadn’t been looking for love, especially with someone fifteen years his junior.

But their chemistry was undeniable. As the stalker’s threats intensified, Michael knew he’d go to any lengths to bring him down. Even if that entailed giving Jillian some very personal security….

Standalone or series: Part of The Precinct series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I needed a palate cleanser after the last two books I read, so I picked up one of the Julie Miller books I had on hand because I knew I’d enjoy it – and of course, I did.

Jillian Masterson has a chequered past. After losing her parents in a plane crash at sixteen, she turned to drugs and men who were not good for her to cope. However, she decided to get clean after nearly being raped, and she’s been sober for eleven years when the book starts. She’s a physical therapist and one of her patients is teenager Mike Cutler, Jr, who lost the use of his legs after being in a car accident that killed his friend.

Mike’s father, Michael, is a SWAT captain. He lost his wife to cancer two years previously, and he’s been busy trying to grieve and deal with the guilt of not being able to save her. At forty-four, he doesn’t think twenty-eight year old Jillian would look twice at him (I’m being picky, but it’s mentioned several times that he’s fifteen years older than her throughout the book, but he’s actually sixteen). However, Jillian is very much attracted to him but doesn’t think he’d give her a second glance because of their age difference.

Jillian is being stalked by someone who knows her very well and looks to be following her. When Michael finds out, she reluctantly accepts his help in finding out who this creep is. What was done nicely was the romance. Yes, they have a big age gap and yes, it gave them both pause, but I like that Ms Miller didn’t drag it out and have them flip flop back and forth. Michael had not been in relationship since his wife died and Jillian was too busy with her sobriety and getting her degree to think about a relationship she was not emotionally ready for, so it was nice to see them both be willing to give it a chance. Jillian is surrounded by law enforcement – her brother is a former cop turned DA investigator, his wife is the police commissioner (and she’s also ten years old than him, so I must dig out their book which I think I have and read it), her sister is a medical examiner and her husband is also a cop. They all work together to try and figure out who is stalking Jillian.

I pretty much guessed who the stalker was from the beginning, because it’s always someone you least suspect, although I did vacillate between two people as the author threw in a second possible suspect. I’m so glad Michael and Jillian worked through their issues to get their happily ever after. If you haven’t read any books by Julie Miller, you should.

Oh, and the cover? I find it odd that the hero is blonde, because Michael has coal black hair (with a bit of silver), and that’s mentioned several times.




Military Grade Mistletoe by Julie Miller

military grade mistletoeTitle: Military Grade Mistletoe

Author: Julie Miller

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: English teacher Daisy Gunderson

The hero: Marine Harry Lockhart

The blurb: Not even Master Sergeant Harry Lockhart’s military expertise could stop the bomb that killed his team and left him injured. Only the kind letters from Daisy Gunderson —a pen pal he’d never met— helped him survive.

But Daisy in the flesh is the surly Marine’s polar opposite. She’s outgoing, talkative and putting his military training on high alert. A stalker named Secret Santa is targeting the kindhearted teacher…and the pranks are growing deadly. In Daisy, Harry’s finally found the safe haven he needs. And he’ll be damned if anyone is going to take her from him.

Standalone or series: It’s listed as a standalone on Julie’s website, but it’s part of The Precinct series.

The review: I always know I’m going to enjoy a Julie Miller book, and unsurprisingly I loved this one. I didn’t catch on until I started reading that our hero, Harry, is the younger brother of Hope Lockhart from Task Force Bride, so it’s best to have read Hope’s book first, but not essential.

I adored Harry and Daisy. Poor Harry is suffering from PTSD after losing his team and his beloved dog in battle. Harry is left scarred from the incident, and is given mandatory time off to recover from the mental and emotional scars he’s still sporting.

Daisy, who knows Hope, started writing to Harry, and in his mind he had a picture of her as a calm, serene lady whom he secretly called his angel. When he meets her in person, though, she’s nothing like that: she’s a talkative whirlwind with purple streaks in her hair. She loves to hug people, and he finds the wall he’s built around himself – and his heart – starting to thaw.

I loved that Daisy took charge in their relationship – she kissed him first, she took the lead the first time they had sex – which Harry needed, because he found himself unable to believe she’d want to be with him because of his appearance and his PTSD that affected his daily life. Daisy is sweet and a little bit sassy, and completely unaware of how attractive she is to men; not only does she have a crazy stalker, who turns out to be completely insane, but one of her students also fancies himself in love with her.

Harry works on getting through his PTSD because he wants to be the man he thinks Daisy deserves. She already loves him for who he is, but gives him the space to do the healing he so desperately needs. I do love that Harry was the one to express his love first. I also loved seeing Hope and Pike pop up every now and then; this book takes place a few years after their one, and they have a toddler son and another baby on the way.

If you haven’t read Julie Miller’s books, you’re missing a treat.