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Reviewed by Caitlyn Lynch for Readers' Favorite
Proving Ground is a fast-paced thrill ride from start to finish! In Caitlin Malone, Stanalei Fletcher has created a heroine we can all root for; a young woman determined to step out of the shadow of her illustrious father and forge her own path as an expert operative for the elite private security firm, Northstar Security. The only problem is ... well, there are any number of problems, really, but most of them stem from Caitlin's own near-crippling self-doubts. Is she strong enough? Is she good enough? Will she ever be really, truly, ready for the life she has chosen? A mission that goes badly south puts Caitlin back on probation and sends her home to Oregon to see her father and Mac, the love she never really left behind. Her boss thinks he's giving Caitlin time to get her head together. Problem is, work's followed Caitlin home and time is something she doesn't have.
I really enjoyed Proving Ground. Too many romantic suspense novels have a plot that stretches the bounds of belief; this one felt all too real, with the ever-present bio-terrorism threat driving Caitlin's actions. I struggled to warm to Mac; I wanted him to believe in Caitlin more, to tell her that he knew that she could do anything she set her heart on. He spent a little too much time trying to protect her for my liking, especially when she'd just demonstrated how physically tough she could actually be after surviving a wilderness ordeal that would have taxed Bear Grylls himself. Still, I'll happily read anything else Stanalei Fletcher puts out; she's a great voice in romantic suspense!