Newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch’s first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse – the girl’s father – with a prime suspect still hanging around. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death?
A former marine, Xavier is barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, and he has no memory of what happened at the crime scene. He came to Eider to confront his past, not get embroiled in a murder as the number one suspect. To make matters worse, as the mystery deepens, Xavier finds himself drawn to the reluctant deputy.
As Jolie fights against mounting pressure to get to the truth, she realizes there’s more to Xavier than meets the eye. But someone is lingering on the fringes, determined to put a stop to her investigation and Xavier’s freedom. Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?
Review: This is book three in the McIntyre County book series. While reading the other books is helpful, the reader doesn’t need to read them as the author provides enough back story to help the reader understand what happened previously, so that the whole story makes sense. I know for me, I’d like to read the previous books, as the female characters that were introduced as the main characters in previous book, were kick ass, take charge, strong women who know how to take care of themselves.
The female protagonist in this book, Jolie, is having a difficult time trying to find her strong kick ass persona, as she’s been dealt with some pretty low blows in her life, and is struggling how to fit in her world, if she’s worthy to be where she is, and what she wants to do with her life. It’s hard when someone is struggling with their self-worth, and confidence. I like how she grows into who she wants to be. I like that she got some of her strength from Xavier, and their friendship, but she also found it within herself, which is even more important.
Xavier is also struggling with how he sees himself. He doesn’t feel like he deserves anything good in his life, as if he’s not worthy, due to circumstances that weren’t his fault. He needs Jolie’s strength to help him as much as Jolie needs his strength. He has an innate sense of confidence, control, and strength, both physical as well as mental, he just feels shaken and uncertain. He needs to find his balance again.
I like the pace that their relationship develops within the book. They develop emotional intimacy quick, which I liked, but they don’t rush into anything to deep and personal quickly, which would seem to fast, and unrealistic.
I also liked Xavier’s sister Ariel. She was a real firecracker, and she provided some comedy relief when things got tense, and intense.
I liked the use of a military dog to help with the case that was the basis of the book. Piper Drake writes about military dogs and how they’re trained in her romance books, and I loved reading her work, so it was nice to see it again in this book.
Give this book a try, it’s a fun suspenseful romance that’s really entertaining. I didn’t see the ending coming…..I really didn’t. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Im going to go with a good thing, as it will keep readers guessing.