Published by Montlake Romance on July 19th 2016
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At age ten, Riley Lambert watched helplessly as her sister was abducted from her bedroom. Fifteen years later, she’s channeled the pain of her past into a career as an FBI profiler. Riley devotes her life to bringing violent criminals to justice…and secretly uses government resources to search for her sister, who was never found.
When Riley gets a call from the only man who’s ever swept her off her feet with a killer two-step and dangerous smile—ex-Navy SEAL Thayne Blackwood of Singing River, Wyoming—it stirs up dark memories. Thayne’s sister, Cheyenne, has been kidnapped. There are no leads, and the only witness is the victim’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandmother.
Desperate to find Cheyenne, Thayne needs Riley’s expertise. With time running short, they delve into dangerous small-town secrets while fighting against an increasingly ruthless adversary. But when her past and his present collide in a shocking revelation, can they overcome the secrets that have kept them apart?
A growing number of missing women – disparate, done years apart and seemingly unconnected – is the only certainty that ties a very complicated mystery together. Caught up in it all is the very unusual pairing of a SEAL on leave and an FBI Agent whose brief affair a year ago had turned into something deeper after an accidental string of phone calls that have solidified a relationship of close friendship apart from physical intimacy.
Riley Lambert’s drug of choice is throwing herself wholeheartedly into her work, driven only by a 15-year long search for her missing sister and the belief that no one can truly understand that obsession. Not even Thayne Blackwood, the hookup who has become so much more. But the game changes when Thayne calls her about his sister’s sudden disappearance and together, they unravel a town’s menacing secrets just as the unfolding events force them both to evaluate their preconceived ideas of family, love and commitment.
The story is far heavier going than I expected, the plot twisty and windy enough to lead you into shadowy woods, the darkened corners of an isolated town and places so off the grid that bodies – decomposed or freshly dumped – merely give incomplete clues to solving it all. As enthralled as I was, I needed constant breaks to review the information in my own head before going on. Yet taking up where I left off again was no hardship when the characters were engaging and multidimensional to the extent where I found myself hoping for their stories to be told – apart from Riley’s and Thayne’s. Even at the halfway mark, every additional scene served to complicate rather than clarify, each revelation as mind-boggling as the next, which, I have to admit, started to frustrate me sooner rather than later.
There’s nonetheless plenty of intelligence and style in the plot, quite a bit of which is carried by Robin Perini’s sharp writing. But for all the dropping bodies, the pessimist in me was surprised – and perhaps even disappointed – to see the core group of characters coming out of the ordeal relatively unscathed, even when the jigsaw finally assembled itself by the end, dangling subplots, hooks and all.