Rogue Launch (The Renegades Book 1) by Cara Dee - Review and Excerpt

Cara Dee can suck you into a story in the first 2 paragraphs, and Rogue Launch was no different. In a standalone series we still get some of our favorite Game characters. 

From the blurb:

The Renegades #1 Romantic Suspense Enemies to Lovers Action MM
“We will find you, darling. Stay strong. We will find you.”

This was exactly what Elliott Jones needed. A nice barbecue with family and friends. The moving trucks were parked outside his new ranch, and he was ready to start fresh. Again. Despite the regrets he lived with, he tried to focus on the good things in life. His niece Blake, for instance. She was his world. But after twenty years of working as a private military contractor in some of the most hostile territories on the planet, Elliott had made more than one enemy.

He heard the unmistakable sound of a rocket launcher, catapulting him and his closest friends into a nightmare of agony, rage, and determination. Lives had been lost, and three people had been kidnapped. Among them, little Blake.

Elliott would stop at nothing to bring her home again, even if he had to team up with his absolute biggest regret, Joel Hayward—Coast Guard sniper, the ex-husband of Elliott’s sister, and Blake’s stepdad.

Nicole's Review:

I absolutely loved this story... SO FAR. I knocked a whole star off because this was just a mean cliffhanger. If you don't like unresolved plot or relationships wait until this whole series is released. Both Joel and Elliot are left in so much pain at the end of this book I cried for them. Unreal Cara! 

Rogue Launch is billed as an action suspense, and it was a heck of a ride. We are tossed right into a party where we meet all of the main characters, and then BOOM everything goes crazy. 

I am loving the flashbacks to the earlier less hostile stages of the relationship between Elliot and Joel. I really hope we get to see Joel's perspective in book 4. 

All in all loved this so far, but treat it more like a serial then a standalone book.

Rating: 4 Stars

SNik's Review:

First in a four part series (The Renegades). Action suspense. Former lovers to enemies to possibly lovers again. Second chance. Slow burn. Single POV. Quick read. 

Elliott is looking forward to his retirement from being a private military contractor, perhaps even spending more time with his niece as he starts up his new business, when his home is targeted by an enemy from the past. The story quickly throws the main and secondary characters into a tense scenario and action sequence which is the jumping off point for Elliott and Joel, Elliott’s former lover and the stepfather to his niece, to take off on a rescue mission. 

There are flashbacks so we get a sense of Elliott and Joel’s complicated relationship; some of the scenes are swoony and steamy, but it’s painful to see them so angry with each other in the current timeline scenes. 

Detailed planning, intelligence gathering, and operational organization is discussed and readers will see cameos from some of the author’s previous books. 

This is a fast paced story with intriguing main characters and anxious suspense with each move the characters make to attempt a rescue. 

As the series is planned to be published in quick succession there is a cliffhanger for this book as the overarching plotline continues, the series will focus on different main characters for books 2 and 3 before returning to Elliott and Joel in the series finale.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Autumn's Review:

I was excited for a new series with characters that we have came to love from Cara. This is the first book is a series of 4 books. It's fast paced right off the start. Action packed, and filled with lots of questions on what will happen next. 

This book is rated 3.5 because it's on the shorter side. I'd rather wait a little longer to get a longer book that doesn't leave off a cliffy, but these books will be rapidly released, so the wait won't be too bad. 

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Lesetiger's Review:

This is the first part of a four-part series that will be released in quick succession. If you don't like cliffhangers, you can wait until the last volume is published. 

In the beginning you get to know many characters. I knew some of them already from another series by the author and I was very happy to see familiar characters again.

Elliott moves into a new home and plans to spend more time with his niece, among others, in the future. But the planned celebration among his loved ones is overshadowed when an enemy from Ellott's past unexpectedly shows up to cause discord. My heart bled. 

And right away, as a reader, I was in the middle of the suspense. There is also plenty of action and investigation as Elliott finds himself on a mission. He is accompanied by Joel. Joel, whom Elliot hates. Joel, whom Elliot once loved. Joel, who is his niece's stepfather. The two of them have a past that you learn more about bit by bit in flashbacks. It makes you understand the complicated relationship they currently have. And just because of that it hurts how they face each other in the present and yet don't want to admit anything to each other. The rescue mission is absolutely their first priority and they can't afford to make any mistakes. Every now and then, some of the tension between the Elliott and Joel flashes. 

If you like action, suspense and emotion, this is the book for you. My heart ached at many a point and the cliffhanger is fierce. Unfortunately, I have to be patient before I learn more about Elliott and Joel, because the fourth volume is about the two of them again. 

I was captivated from the beginning, the story is fast-paced, but much too short, because I would have loved to continue reading, which is why I am now eagerly awaiting the second part.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

KjnRose's Review:

This is such a great start to a new series by Cara Dee. It's full of action and I love the characters. The flashbacks are hard to go from one time to another, but completely understand why it's there.

Rating: 4 Stars

Tatted_book_freak's Review:

What a first impression by Cara Dee!! Military, suspense, cartels, and MM!?!? To say I’m in love doesn’t even begin to describe my excitement!! And, this was just the beginning, with one helluva cliffhanger 🤬

The action packed into this one, along with the fast-paced action, we meet a lot of characters who are a part of the rescue crew of three civilians, one being the niece and daughter of the main characters of this book. Cara made me feel like I was right there alongside Elliot and Joel, finding clues, while also sharing past moments of Elliot and Joel’s continuous relationship. 

The suspense of where the civilians are being held, with the unknown of their fate, kept me intrigued and curious for the future additions. Hopefully, Joel’s POV allows us to learn his perspective on their relationship, and their HEA will eventually come into existence in book four. 

Excited for Crew and Adrian’s story while searing in Europe, too! But, what I am really ecstatic about are the Tenley twins recking havoc in search for Shay!! Bring on the adventures of these characters, Cara!! 

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Rogue Launch is available to buy in ebook format in wide release.

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“Toby! This is for you.” Gray stuck a piece of bread and changed songs.

Oh fuck yeah, it took me about half a second to recognize Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and dive right back into my childhood. One of the reasons I’d loved growing up in the San Diego area, watching the Navy ships on the weekends with my old man.

Toby was a good boy. He was former Navy too. He and Crew were high on life and didn’t hesitate to put on a poolside show for us, dancing and singing along.

Blake laughed and cheered.

“Nobody tell anyone I’m getting down to Navy music,” Crew threatened. “Damn squids.”

“Whoa!” I stood up with my mouth full of olives, pepper salami, and bread.

“I got this, boss. You go back to eating,” Toby reassured me. Hey, not everyone wanted eight-packs. Some wanted food. He turned to Crew and clasped his shoulder. “Looks like I gotta teach you a Top Gun lesson, my jarhead friend.”

This oughta be good—

I felt my body seize up a fraction of a second before my brain screamed desert. The smell of tea, herbs, and diesel invaded my senses. Take cover, take cover! I was back in Fallujah. Dogs barked, mopeds beeped, men screamed, the morning call to prayer had been interrupted by the sounds of rocket launchers.

I sucked in a breath and met Crew’s wild stare from almost fifty feet away, and I could tell he’d reacted too. Then we snapped our gazes to the sky, and I didn’t even think. The sound was so fucking distinct that I switched over to muscle memory. I wasn’t sure I saw anything, but I knew.

“Everyone away from the house!” I yelled. “Take cover! Away from the house!”

“Fucking run!” Crew shouted.

About Cara

I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. 

There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. 

Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.

I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I'm a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write. 

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