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Total Bravery

by Piper J. Drake

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The True Heroes (book 4)

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279650,260 (3.57)None
Raul Sa, the newest recruit at a private military contract organization Search and Protect, is looking to leave his nightmares behind him. He and his new canine partner, Taz, have bonded well and his best friend is part of his new team, but relations with the other members of the squadron are best described as in progress. When Ami Siri realizes dangerous people are after her, her first call is to her older sister. But it's Raul who picks up the phone. She has no idea who he is-- or that he's her older sister's best friend-- but she's got no time to wait for someone else. She's in Hawaii conducting sensitive research with no way to get back home, and she's just escaped an attempted kidnapping. Raul sounds capable-- and sexy-- and she desperately needs his help. Raul doesn't think twice before deploying ahead of the Search and Protect team to help Ami. Inexorably drawn to her, he'll have to find a solution to the people threatening Ami's freedom...and he'll need to survive his best friend's temper when she finds out he's fallen in love with her younger sister.… (more)

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3.3 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mali is in Hawaii doing research for a human rights study focusing on sex trafficking, when her principal investigator blows his alert whistle when her and her colleagues are out doing street interviews, she knows she's in trouble. Her former military sister Arin works on the island, so she calls her for help.
Raul has just been hired by Search and Protect Corps, a job his former colleague and friend Arin helped him get. When he gets a call forwarded from Arin's phone because she is currently on a mission and hears her little sister asking for help, he knows he has to act.
Mali and Raul both have trust issues but as they work to find out what happened to Mali's colleagues, the spark between them is getting harder and harder to ignore.

Her laughter faded, and her dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief. “Well, if you're going to get in trouble anyway...”
She bent then, leaning a hand on his chest, and pressed her lips to his.


Total Bravery, is number four in the True Heroes series but you would have no problem picking this up with no prior knowledge. I've only read the first in the series and I never felt lost. The story brings you into the action right away, which really worked for me in some ways and not in others. Raul's partner is a German Sheppard named Taz and, something that I thought was missing from the first book, the author utilized Taz wonderfully. Even though Mali is running and hiding, the way Taz brings Raul to her started the story off cute and exciting. However, jumping right into the danger that sets up the action plot didn't allow for an introduction to Mali's colleagues. When Mali manages to evade the ominous men in suits that caused the leader of her research group to warn people to run but her colleagues all get kidnapped, I didn't have an emotional stake in their danger or any future reveals pertaining to the characters; nixed a supposed surprise ending thread.

A cold nose touched her thigh, and Taz slipped his head under her hand. The big dog pressed against her leg. Raul murmured gently, “We won't leave you.”

Mali was the stronger of the two characters because of getting more background information on her. She grew-up protected by her older sister and this caused her to look up to her but also have some fear towards the violence Arin exhibited in front of her. We get a scene between the sisters where Mali learns that Arin thinks of her in a way that Mali was clueless about and bolsters her confidence. I wish we could have gotten more scenes between the two because their uneasy but loving relationship provided great complex emotions. The same with Raul and Arin, I would have liked to see these two friends together. As the new guy on the job, Raul didn't have any connections and he didn't seem to have family or other friends than Arin, this left some of the different layers of his character blank for me.

She was doing research because she believed people were worth saving. He'd spent the better part of his last assignment proving to people that there was a hell, and it didn't take demons to send them there.

Mali and Raul had a cute start, even though their first kiss happens very quickly and as Mali's character gets revealed more, it made the first kiss seem out of character for her. Their romance felt pushed to the side a bit too much in favor of the plot to find out who and why Mali's colleagues were taken. The villains behind the sex trafficking plot felt a bit whiffed on with their structure and reveal but maybe since they're close to the Search and Protect corps they will show up again. I'm a dog person and I adored the relationship between Taz and Mali and how Taz worked with Raul; Taz made this book for me. I thought the writing was smooth and the author handled the moving parts well, research felt evident in how scenes and characters were conducted, most importantly, it kept me wanting to read but I didn't fully feel the love building between Raul and Mali. Even in the later half of the story Mali was still not thinking a relationship with Raul would be serious. I wish the ending text messages that Raul sends to Mali would have been shown so we could read and feel more of an emotional connection between the two.

She stared up at him. “I am so glad you're here.”
He smiled then, slow and incredibly sexy.


Each book in the series has a main character paired with a dog (keep hoping for a Rottweiler someday!) and I love that. Trust me, you're going to love Taz, the moment where he shuts a car door during a mission was ridiculously cute and high training impressive. This was the second book in the series I've read and even though I thought the romance relationship between the two could have been better, I enjoyed it even more than the first. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Mar 21, 2020 |
Raul Sá is trying to find his place as the newest member of the Search and Protect Corporation. The team is a K9 training unit and its members handle very serious situations. His partner is his extremely loyal German Shepherd Dog Taz. His very first mission is in Hawaii and it is a doozy.

Mali Siri doesn't have an easy job as a professional researcher. However, when her research team is abducted she needs help, and can think of no one else to call but her sister Arin, part of an exclusive team. When she makes the call, Raul answers the phone and immediately responds to her pleas for help.

Mali is a bit uncertain when Raul and his intense dog arrive, but she has no choice but to trust him. Actually, Raul is just about as intense as his dog, and handles just about every situation with extreme accuracy. Along the way, the other team members and their canine partners are on hand when needed. Meanwhile, Mali and Raul face an incredible attraction to one another.

As things intensify while searching for Mali's team, it becomes incredibly apparent that she is in grave danger. It was rather nice seeing the relationship blossom, because besides the intense danger, it didn't help matters at all that Mali's sister Arin and Raul are best friends. Arin is just as protective to Mali as Raul is to her, even if it means that Arin doesn't want Raul and Mali to get any closer than necessary.

Total Bravery is a terrific addition to a successful series. The team and each relationship as it is developed is done well. Despite the serious nature of this particular story, it has a really good conclusion.This book was very engaging, and one that I completed in one sitting. I look forward to each successive story.

This is the fourth book in the series. Other books are Extreme Honor, Ultimate Courage, Winter Valor(novella), Absolute Trust, Fierce Justice and Forever Strong. Each book contains a separate story, with recurring characters, yet they do well as standalones. ( )
  RobinLovesReading | Oct 25, 2019 |
I enjoyed this romance quite a bit. This is the third book in Piper J. Drake's True Heroes series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I haven't read any of the other books from this series and I had absolutely no problems jumping in with this one. I picked this book up on a day that I was home waiting to get some repairs done because I thought it fit my mood that day. I was right. I consumed this entire book in a single day and had a great time with it.

When Raul gets a call for help from Mali, a friend and co-worker's sister, he doesn't hesitate to come to her aid. Raul works at Search and Protect along with his partner Taz, a German Shepherd. He is brand new on the job and hasn't even officially started when he gets the call from Mali but he knows he needs to help. Mali is afraid. She has been in Hawaii doing research and her group had to scatter. She believes that people may be after her and she fears for the safety of her group.

This book had plenty of action to keep things really interesting. There were some pretty intense scenes that really kept the pace of the book moving forward. I thought that the action was nicely balanced out by the scenes that were more character-driven. I really enjoyed getting to know Raul, Mali, Taz, and the rest of the crew. It was very interesting to see what motivated them to act. I loved the fact that Taz was such a well-developed character that played a huge part in the story. I am a sucker for books that involve dogs and I thought that Taz added a whole lot to the story.

I liked the chemistry between Raul and Mali. I enjoyed the romance in this story but I did feel like the action of the story felt like a larger focus. I liked that things moved a little slower and I thought that their chemistry was very well done. I was completely invested in seeing this pair figure out how to make things work long term.

I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense. The story does deal with human trafficking which may be hard for some readers. I found this story to be very entertaining and action-packed and therefore hard to put down. I would not hesitate to read more of well-done series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing). ( )
  Carolesrandomlife | Sep 23, 2019 |
Total Bravery was an enjoyable and easy read. I love sitting with my dogs - and my service dog, and reading romances that include dogs - especially working dogs (I haven't found any that have service dogs yet though, just Working Dogs). In Total Bravery's case, I hung out in the waiting room of my medical centre on a testing day in a hospital gown and pyjama bottoms in corner and read the book whilst waiting for a bevy of new tests. Blech. And I was entertained enough to not go into panic mode but still aware of everything going on around me. For me, that's a plus when out and about. So yay, Total Bravery. If you're looking for the next captivating read that makes you forget to take that casserole out of the oven, this won't be it, but it will be entertaining and mildly spicy.
What I enjoyed most was Mali, she was a different female lead than you get in a lot of romances. She's working in Hawai'i, interviewing sex workers and trying to get information for research purposes on sex trafficking. I also liked Raul's absolute loyalty to his battle buddy, Arin, Mali's sister. When Mali calls, looking for Arin's help, he doesn't think twice, he jumps in to help Mali even though he doesn't know her. He just knows Mali is Arin's sister and that means something to him. It's a bit detrimental in the relationship building but as I'm a lot like Raul in the complete loyalty department, I love seeing it in books.
What I disliked. Well, that's a spoiler. I can't rant about what I don't like without giving it away and there is frustration aplenty about it.
Overall, I'm giving Total Bravery 3 stars. It was a good book to keep me occupied but I didn't fall in love with it. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy I received via NetGalley. ( )
  OUATIReadABook | Dec 19, 2018 |
Good book that sucked me in right away. The first three books in the series took place in Pennsylvania, with the owners and trainers at Hope's Crossing Kennels. This book follows one of their working dogs and his handler, Taz and Raul Sa (from Absolute Trust), to Hawaii and their work with Search and Protect. On his first day on the job, alone on the premises, he received a call from the sister of one of his teammates - she's on the run from unknown men and needs help. Raul and Taz immediately set off to find her.

Mali is a researcher doing post-doctorate work and studying human trafficking. The team she is with has drawn the wrong kind of attention, and while she has evaded capture, the rest of the team has not. She's on edge until her sister's friend and teammate finds her and gets her to safety.

I loved the first meeting between Raul and Mali. The situation is tense because of the danger, but there is also no denying the punch of attraction that both of them feel. Mali is moved by Raul's care and concern and notices how cute he is. Raul is equally drawn to her, but she's his best friend's little sister. I laughed out loud at that moment in the hotel room when he asked "Is there something I can do to get out of this situation without Arin wanting to kill me?" and "I'm doomed. Dead." I loved Mali's reaction even more. I loved the way that Mali almost instantly connected with both Raul and Taz, and they with her. Taz is just as protective of Mali as Raul is, and he and Mali have some pretty sweet moments together.

I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Raul and Mali. Raul is smitten almost immediately. Even if it means standing up to his good buddy Arin, he wants to see where it will go. The problem is, he's got some pretty dark things in his past that also make him feel that he isn't good for her, so he mentally flip-flops a little bit. Mali's feelings have her totally confused. With everything that's going on, as much as she wants them to, she's not sure that she can trust them to last. I liked how their working together helped them get to know each other, and that the heat between them continued to build. I loved that Raul respected Mali's intelligence and capabilities. He didn't allow his protectiveness to stop him from listening to her opinions and suggestions or stop her from participating in the rescue operation. Though Mali is an eyewitness to the things that Raul is capable of when the situation calls for it, her feelings for him are not diminished by it. I liked that she could separate the professional Raul from the personal one. The ending was fantastic, as Raul gave Mali the space she needed to deal with everything that had happened. I liked how Mali was able to work through all her issues and see the truth. The fact that both of them had "go big" moments planned put them on equal footing for their future, with neither one having to give something up to be together.

The suspense of the story was really good and kept me hooked throughout the book. Mali and her research team were researching human trafficking on the Islands when they drew the interest of the wrong people. Mali was able to escape, thanks to remembered advice from her sister, which leaves her as the only team member free. Though badly shaken, she is determined to help her friends. Her return to the hotel, with Raul and Taz in tow, is tense and becomes more so with the messages she received. Mali's stubborn insistence on following those instructions almost put her in the TSTL category, but her willingness to follow Raul's lead made it better. The scene at the pineapple stand brought home how much danger was involved. Once they return to Search and Protect's headquarters and fill in the rest of the team, things really begin to pop. I loved the teamwork and seeing how each member's strengths were utilized. The rescue operation was intense and had me on the edge of my seat as I read my way through it. There were a couple of unexpected twists that increased the tension before it was all resolved.

The assorted relationships in the book were also fascinating. Raul and Taz's assimilation into the new team was an important component. His reflections on past issues with other teams emphasized how important this new job was to him. I liked seeing how his interactions with each of those members reinforced his feeling of belonging. I loved the nurturing spirit of Kalea and her obvious happiness in taking care of everyone. Zu's leadership and understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each member had the respect of them all. I loved his conversation with Raul at the end, and the impact it had on Raul. I felt like the most important relationship, other than that between Mali and Raul, was the one between Arin and Mali. They had grown up with Arin being Mali's protector, and now that they are grown Arin still sees Mali as that child. It takes a while for her to see Mali's strength and independence. That protectiveness also comes out when she sees the sparks between Mali and Raul. I loved that she warned Mali that she could be hurt, but also that she could hurt Raul. The friendship between Arin and Raul is a close one, and they obviously know each other well. There were some realistically awkward moments among the three of them as they worked out the new dynamics.

I loved the dogs, especially Taz. I was rooting for him in the previous book and was thrilled when he found a partner in Raul. I loved how well they had already bonded by the time this book started. One of the things I liked best about him is that his personality is so much like Raul's. It seemed that he fell for Mali as quickly as Raul did. I loved the scene in the bathroom when Raul first rescued Mali, and how Taz sensed her distress. The bit with the pineapple was absolutely adorable. Though Mali had never been an animal person, Taz drew her in just as quickly. I loved how he provided comfort in stressful times, and was there for the good times, too. I loved his part in Raul's big moment. As always in these True Heroes books, I love learning about these working dogs and the people they are partnered with. It's always fascinating. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Oct 26, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Piper J. Drakeprimary authorall editionscalculated
May, Daniel ThomasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slaughter, CarolineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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