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Shadow Soldier

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Deacon McConnell spends his days as a woodcarver and his nights as head of one of the most secretive government agencies in the United States. When he meets a man troubled by his time spent in the Middle East, Deacon feels drawn to the pain in the handsome man’s eyes. He makes the decision to help Aaron Ellis any way he can. Dishonourably discharged from the Army, it takes Deacon McConnell spends his days as a woodcarver and his nights as head of one of the most secretive government agencies in the United States. When he meets a man troubled by his time spent in the Middle East, Deacon feels drawn to the pain in the handsome man’s eyes. He makes the decision to help Aaron Ellis any way he can. Dishonourably discharged from the Army, it takes everything Aaron has to get out of bed each morning. He’s become used to faking his way through life, putting on a happy face when the situation calls for it is a lot easier than dealing with his buried memories. The day Aaron wanders into Deacon’s store for the first time, the last thing he expects is an immediate connection with the shop owner. For the first time since leaving the service, Aaron begins to believe there may be light at the end of the dark tunnel. The nights he spends in Deacon’s arms slowly begin to drive the shadows from his heart. After years spent serving his country, Deacon yearns for a normal life. The move to Cattle Valley is the first step, opening up to Aaron the second. When duty calls Deacon out of town, he begins to wonder how much more he’ll be forced to give up for his country.


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Deacon McConnell spends his days as a woodcarver and his nights as head of one of the most secretive government agencies in the United States. When he meets a man troubled by his time spent in the Middle East, Deacon feels drawn to the pain in the handsome man’s eyes. He makes the decision to help Aaron Ellis any way he can. Dishonourably discharged from the Army, it takes Deacon McConnell spends his days as a woodcarver and his nights as head of one of the most secretive government agencies in the United States. When he meets a man troubled by his time spent in the Middle East, Deacon feels drawn to the pain in the handsome man’s eyes. He makes the decision to help Aaron Ellis any way he can. Dishonourably discharged from the Army, it takes everything Aaron has to get out of bed each morning. He’s become used to faking his way through life, putting on a happy face when the situation calls for it is a lot easier than dealing with his buried memories. The day Aaron wanders into Deacon’s store for the first time, the last thing he expects is an immediate connection with the shop owner. For the first time since leaving the service, Aaron begins to believe there may be light at the end of the dark tunnel. The nights he spends in Deacon’s arms slowly begin to drive the shadows from his heart. After years spent serving his country, Deacon yearns for a normal life. The move to Cattle Valley is the first step, opening up to Aaron the second. When duty calls Deacon out of town, he begins to wonder how much more he’ll be forced to give up for his country.

30 review for Shadow Soldier

  1. 4 out of 5

    V

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Please, please...don't tell me it is more than 20 years difference between this 2 MC :( ....Updated.... Well,it was!!! actually there are 21 years difference between the 2 main characters. I was a little bit disappointed about that, although it was a very nice story and I just pretended in my mind they were only 10 years apart. Not the best from the series, although quite enjoyable. Please, please...don't tell me it is more than 20 years difference between this 2 MC :( ....Updated.... Well,it was!!! actually there are 21 years difference between the 2 main characters. I was a little bit disappointed about that, although it was a very nice story and I just pretended in my mind they were only 10 years apart. Not the best from the series, although quite enjoyable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mandy*reads obsessively*

    Another one of the Cattle Valley saga, and like the others it is a nice dependable read. They both have tons of baggage and despite being very different in almost everyway they seem to fit well together. Sweet read, and not that heavy on the sex!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Aaron and Deacon both have some serious issues to deal with and neither one of them was doing a very good job until they met the other. Aaron had a little more to work through but I think being with Deacon made it a lot better for him. I didn't go into this book really knowing who either of these characters were because they'd only been mentioned in passing before but I came to really enjoy them. Watching them work through their shit to get to the relationship they have now was interesting and im Aaron and Deacon both have some serious issues to deal with and neither one of them was doing a very good job until they met the other. Aaron had a little more to work through but I think being with Deacon made it a lot better for him. I didn't go into this book really knowing who either of these characters were because they'd only been mentioned in passing before but I came to really enjoy them. Watching them work through their shit to get to the relationship they have now was interesting and important. The kitten, Groucho, made me smile often and I really liked it! This couple grew on me but due to the history of Deacon's job, I kept wondering who was going to come after Aaron and how he was going to get hurt through the rest of the book... it was surprising! Great story!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Byron

    I'm going to be little harsh here.. Carol wrote a GREAT story, but this one could have been her best yet.. ALL the ingredients are there with BOTH the characters having amazing back stories.. The story it's self is close to perfect.. I was tempted to make this a 3 star but I love the series and this story is JUST as deserving even if I feel that we could have had much more story with both of these characters.. I do understand that this series is not meant to be massive tomes of words.. just that t I'm going to be little harsh here.. Carol wrote a GREAT story, but this one could have been her best yet.. ALL the ingredients are there with BOTH the characters having amazing back stories.. The story it's self is close to perfect.. I was tempted to make this a 3 star but I love the series and this story is JUST as deserving even if I feel that we could have had much more story with both of these characters.. I do understand that this series is not meant to be massive tomes of words.. just that there have been some real emotional moments in the past. This one had the potential..

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deeze

    Another sweet short read in the series. I love the fact that Deacon didn't pull the old I'm too old for you card. It made a change to see an older guy not worry about the age difference lol. Another sweet short read in the series. I love the fact that Deacon didn't pull the old I'm too old for you card. It made a change to see an older guy not worry about the age difference lol.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Navyvet

    Cattle Valley # 26, the story of Aaron and Deacon, is another solid installment. As a Veteran with PTSD, I was particularly intrigued by how the author would handle Aaron's issues. Though the large age gap bothered me, the MCs seemed to find common ground by sharing past traumas. Deacon's secret agency job was an interesting angle and I liked how he was genuinely interested in helping Aaron. They seemed good for each other. Some angsty events occur but the ending is tied up in a neat little bow. Cattle Valley # 26, the story of Aaron and Deacon, is another solid installment. As a Veteran with PTSD, I was particularly intrigued by how the author would handle Aaron's issues. Though the large age gap bothered me, the MCs seemed to find common ground by sharing past traumas. Deacon's secret agency job was an interesting angle and I liked how he was genuinely interested in helping Aaron. They seemed good for each other. Some angsty events occur but the ending is tied up in a neat little bow. I am always surprised at how quickly the endings sneak up on me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    andrea moran

    Cattle Valley I’ve been looking forward to reading the back story of the EMT with PTSD from the war and like the others in the series it did not disappoint, I really enjoyed this one

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lena Grey

    Trying to live with secrets automatically puts someone in a precarious position. You can never let your guard down; being able to trust anyone is nearly impossible. Deacon McConnell and Aaron Ellis, of 'Shadow Soldier' by Carol Lynne, both have had circumstances in their lives which no one knows about. They've maintained their silence, because, before they meet, there was no reason not to. Afterward, they begin to wonder if it's worth being lonely, just to keep the skeletons in their closets; or Trying to live with secrets automatically puts someone in a precarious position. You can never let your guard down; being able to trust anyone is nearly impossible. Deacon McConnell and Aaron Ellis, of 'Shadow Soldier' by Carol Lynne, both have had circumstances in their lives which no one knows about. They've maintained their silence, because, before they meet, there was no reason not to. Afterward, they begin to wonder if it's worth being lonely, just to keep the skeletons in their closets; or whether it would be better to dig deep, be honest, and fight their demons together. I've liked Aaron since meeting him in 'Scarred' and I'm thrilled that Carol decided to tell his story. PTSD is a difficult thing to live with; when it hits, it's terrifying but, as with any fear, it's irrational. It's not something that will merely go away with time. That's why it's so important to have someone who understands and is prepared to help you deal with it. For Aaron, there's no one better equipped to handle this than Deacon. He's someone who Aaron feels immediately comfortable with and Aaron hasn't had that feeling for a very long time. It's intoxicating; Aaron finds himself wanting to be with Deacon as much as he possibly can, just to experience the sense of calm being with him brings. Because of his top secret security position, Deacon has learned to live a covert life, emotionally cut off from other people. When he falls for Aaron, he has trouble dealing with the intimacy and openness required to form a loving relationship. It's way past time for both of them to learn to trust each other and the people around them and begin living again. Deacon decides that he's given enough for his country; in order to have a life with Aaron, he decides to retire and let someone else take over. I loved this story. Aaron and Deacon are so perfect for each other; it's heartwarming to see them together. They both need someone in their lives to encourage and appreciate them for who they are. I admired the incredible amount of patience they have with each other as Aaron and Deacon work together to banish their self-imposed isolation and ease back into the community. I not only recommend this to other Cattle Valley fans, who I'm sure will love it, but I also highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a heartfelt story between two very deserving men and, of course, a happy ending. Thanks, Carol, for another lovely story. NOTE: This book was provided by XXXXXXX for the purpose of a review on QMO Books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Shadow Soldier: Cattle Valley #26 By Carol Lynne Finally! We get Duncan McConnell’s story. I have been waiting for his story since he was introduced about three books ago. Duncan McConnell is the Director of a shadow government mercenary agency, while Midnight handles most all of the main day to day operations and phone calls from the handlers and agents, Duncan still makes all the big decisions, and is still the one that answers directly to the President of the United States. He is getting ready t Shadow Soldier: Cattle Valley #26 By Carol Lynne Finally! We get Duncan McConnell’s story. I have been waiting for his story since he was introduced about three books ago. Duncan McConnell is the Director of a shadow government mercenary agency, while Midnight handles most all of the main day to day operations and phone calls from the handlers and agents, Duncan still makes all the big decisions, and is still the one that answers directly to the President of the United States. He is getting ready to retire; he is enjoying his woodworking shop in Cattle Valley. Luke comes to him about his partner in the EMT’s that is having horrible PTSD and asks if he can help in any way. Duncan, being Duncan, looks into the young man’s past, and finds out his discharge was not dishonorable like he leads everyone to believe, that he had a horrible time of it over in the Middle East. Aaron Ellis lets everyone believe that he was dishonorably discharged over his homosexuality; it makes what happened to give him PTSD a little more manageable. He is looking at a headboard in Duncan’s shop, has been for a couple weeks now, it is too beautiful to pass up so he goes in to buy it and meets the man. He is instantly attracted to the good looking older man, and when Duncan offers to teach him woodworking he jumps at the chance. Their relationship starts off a little slow, Duncan knows he has to tell Aaron about checking into his background, and then Midnight calls, Sully is stuck in a Columbian prison, and the only person available is Midnight. So, Duncan needs to take over the day-to-day running of the operations, so he is worried about Aaron and getting involved, ends up hurting Aaron. After a good yelling from Luke, Duncan explains what he can, and he and Aaron start again. This story was another wonderfully woven tale by Ms. Lynne. Two men with such nightmares, can they work their way through them? Can they build a new life; a stronger life together as their rough edges and what they felt were their worst traits came to light? When a fire sweeps through their building, can they find a way to rebuild? Such passion need and pain in these two men that you cry and just want to hold them both. I loved this story from the beginning, could not put it down, and did not want to put it down. Everything I have come to expect from Ms. Lynne in her well crafted books; a great addition to this series. Thank you for this 5 star book, and taking us once again on a short vacation to this town you have created.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews

    3 1/2 Hearts First published at MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.co... Deacon owns a furniture store selling his own creations, but he is also the head of a secretive government agency. Asked by a friend to help Aaron deal with his problems, he decides that he will. But, when he meets the young man he is drawn to him in ways he thought were long dead. Adam was given a general discharge from the army, but the guilt he feels over the deaths of his comrades affects him greatly. 3 1/2 Hearts First published at MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.co... Deacon owns a furniture store selling his own creations, but he is also the head of a secretive government agency. Asked by a friend to help Aaron deal with his problems, he decides that he will. But, when he meets the young man he is drawn to him in ways he thought were long dead. Adam was given a general discharge from the army, but the guilt he feels over the deaths of his comrades affects him greatly. When he meets Deacon, he feels safe and attracted to him, so he decides to see if Deacon returns his feelings. This story is well written. Deacon has secrets that he doesn’t want getting out. Adam doesn’t want anyone to know the real reason that he left the army and Deacon has done an in-depth background check on Adam as a way to know everything, so that he can help him. These two men end up together and help each other in some small way, but Deacon has a confession to make to Adam and Adam finds it hard to accept that a man like Deacon would be interested in him. Okay, I liked this story as it delves into the territory of survivors’ guilt and we get a good feel for both Aaron and Deacon. But, what we don’t get is a full understanding of what either of them went though. We get given hints, i.e. Deacon’s car was purposely driven off the road injuring him and killing his lover. We get told that it had to do with Deacon’s job, but that’s it… It’s mentioned that Adam has scars on his chest and that he was held at gunpoint for three days, but not much more. Seriously, it’s as though all the really good bits were cut out. Deacon and Adam’s relationship does move fast, but the burning down of the store forced that and the sex between them is hot. Now, some of you might be put off, but there is a twenty-one year age gap. But, to be honest with you, the only time that I remembered that was when the author brought it up, which was a few times. But, neither character ever really worried about it and there was no angst or arguments about it so to me the age between them was negligible. So, I will recommend this to those who love damaged heroes, May – December relationships, hot sex, a good story-line and a happy ever after.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nikyta

    I've been following the Cattle Valley series since I started reading m/m a few years back. It's a series I find completely addicting and one I'm always willing to read (unless it's menage then I need a push to read it). I like the fact that the characters are always changing and new people come in while old people may leave. It's interesting to see how the town grows when people settle in. In the last book, Confessions, I was immediately fascinated by the low-key Director, Deacon McConnell. For I've been following the Cattle Valley series since I started reading m/m a few years back. It's a series I find completely addicting and one I'm always willing to read (unless it's menage then I need a push to read it). I like the fact that the characters are always changing and new people come in while old people may leave. It's interesting to see how the town grows when people settle in. In the last book, Confessions, I was immediately fascinated by the low-key Director, Deacon McConnell. For someone so damaged and seemed without much faith in anything, he was still willing to help those in need. He intrigued me because he's physically damaged while still dealing with old memories. I loved him in this book because of that. I also adored Aaron because he's mentally damaged from being in the military. His drawings broke my heart but his love for the kitten, Groucho, was just too cute. I really liked how this story was handled. How Deacon struggled with wanting Aaron but not wanting to bring Aaron into danger since Deacon was still the Director of the 'Agency'. I thought it was cute. I also liked that Luke plays a role in helping Deacon and Aaron get together. I loved the May/Dec aspect of the story and how they bonded over woodworking. The only thing I'd have liked to see more of is Deacon actually working as Director. We get a few brief scenes but I would have liked to see him when he went to his meeting and what happened during that time. All in all, definitely a great addition to the series. Those readers that have stuck with the series this long will definitely like this one. Especially if they enjoy May/Dec romances. I hope we get Midnight's story soon, though. I've been wanting his story for a few books now!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I have just finished the entire Cattle Valley series and am once again captivated by what a wonderful storyteller Ms. Lynne is. My first exposure to her work was the "Men in Love" series and it remains one of my favorites. Cattle Valley is even more excellent, if that is possible. It is amazing to me that she could write 26 stories set in the same town, with basically the same cast of characters, and yet make each story fresh and different. She is one of my favorite writers and I will read anyth I have just finished the entire Cattle Valley series and am once again captivated by what a wonderful storyteller Ms. Lynne is. My first exposure to her work was the "Men in Love" series and it remains one of my favorites. Cattle Valley is even more excellent, if that is possible. It is amazing to me that she could write 26 stories set in the same town, with basically the same cast of characters, and yet make each story fresh and different. She is one of my favorite writers and I will read anything she writes. So why, you may ask, after all of this glowing praise, have I not given each book a "5" rating instead of a "4". It is, as seems to be unfortunately true of so many e-books, the editing. There are numerous uncorrected mistakes throughout the books, worse in the earlier ones but still some problems present in the later ones as well. I find this to be very distracting and it saddens me that such excellent writing should be marred by such sloppy editing. It takes away from the enjoyment of the stories and Ms. Lynne's talent certainly deserves better attention to detail. That said, I would definitely recommend this entire series. I could read 26 more Cattle Valley stories and I'm sorry that there are no more (right now, anyway).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Wood

    I loved Aaron since we'd met him in previous books. I think I have a thing for the wounded and sad. It was obvious he had problems he brought back with him from overseas, we just didn't understand how complicated they were. I really felt for him, even though he's a ficitional character lol These kinds of problems and some much worse are some people come back with and I loved how it was depicted in this story. Deacon, I didn't know much about but really enjoyed how he tried to help Aaron and be th I loved Aaron since we'd met him in previous books. I think I have a thing for the wounded and sad. It was obvious he had problems he brought back with him from overseas, we just didn't understand how complicated they were. I really felt for him, even though he's a ficitional character lol These kinds of problems and some much worse are some people come back with and I loved how it was depicted in this story. Deacon, I didn't know much about but really enjoyed how he tried to help Aaron and be there for him. He wasn't intrusive and he didn't push and even though he had baggage of his own, it was obvious he had Aaron's best interest at heart. Little bit, by little bit you could see them both opening up and Aaron doing much better. I just loved it. I've loved all the books in this series, I can't wait to read more! On to the next for me!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I just don't know anymore. I continue to read this series and go into the book knowing full well that I'm going to be annoyed and disappointed This book was by far better than the previous two or three, but it just didn't do anything for me. The romance was rushed and even though the book was a little bit longer I just didn't care about the couple. I'm thinking that the next stop in the series will be Stormy's story. Is he going to be with Shane or the Twink in the shorts? Who can tell? I am a l I just don't know anymore. I continue to read this series and go into the book knowing full well that I'm going to be annoyed and disappointed This book was by far better than the previous two or three, but it just didn't do anything for me. The romance was rushed and even though the book was a little bit longer I just didn't care about the couple. I'm thinking that the next stop in the series will be Stormy's story. Is he going to be with Shane or the Twink in the shorts? Who can tell? I am a little interested in reading Stormy's story if only for the simple reason that I really want to catch up on Ezra and Win.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelby P

    I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of this book; I was expecting gunfire and bad guys like the last book and I'm glad we didn't get that. I would have liked more info on Deacon's past like how did he become the Director with a direct connection to the President? How did he end up in Cattle Valley of all places? Who were the guys who hurt him after his car accident? (view spoiler)[I wish the fire wasn't Aaron's fault and Deacon didn't have to cover up/lie about its origin. It should have been I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of this book; I was expecting gunfire and bad guys like the last book and I'm glad we didn't get that. I would have liked more info on Deacon's past like how did he become the Director with a direct connection to the President? How did he end up in Cattle Valley of all places? Who were the guys who hurt him after his car accident? (view spoiler)[I wish the fire wasn't Aaron's fault and Deacon didn't have to cover up/lie about its origin. It should have been Groucho who caused the fire. (hide spoiler)] I'm curious about Smokey Sharp now.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janie

    I really liked that Deacon and Aaron had so much in common, even if it was the same kind of guilt and pain. And I loved that Aaron told Deacon that they each had to meet 5 new people at the end of the story, it was pretty funny.

  17. 4 out of 5

    D

    3.5

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michi Rosa

    I really enjoyed this book. Not the best of the series, not a very deep story, but a good book nonetheless.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eyre

    Nice story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sabi

    I just love it. Well written. The character are real

  21. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    I liked the relationship with Deacon and Aaron. I also liked the friendship that was developed in the last one with Luke and Deacon. Good book with so mild PTSD.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gwengwel

    Love that the cover illustrate for one time the difference of age between the two MC. It's not two twink, yes! Love that the cover illustrate for one time the difference of age between the two MC. It's not two twink, yes!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Carol Lynne and her Cattle Valley series are always a pleasure to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melanie~~

    I really liked this one. Hell, who am I kidding? I "really like" most of the Cattle Valley books. If you're into them then you'll like this one too. I really liked this one. Hell, who am I kidding? I "really like" most of the Cattle Valley books. If you're into them then you'll like this one too.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Maitz

    It was good read. We have past, we have active problems and we have 2 guys getting together.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I think he should have come clean about how the fire started because that will come back to bite him on the ass now ... still its a wonderful day in the neighborhood of cattle valley .. :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is amazing, Deacon and Aaron together just seem to fit. Loved how the PTSD was done, and of course feel in love with Groucho and him saving Aaron.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bogusia

    I love this series. "Shadow Soldier" is a nice story but not the best of the series. I love this series. "Shadow Soldier" is a nice story but not the best of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jammie Elder

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dani Elle Maas

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