Cassie Gambol is on the run. In what seems like another lifetime, her ex-husband nearly ended her life and effectively ended her successful career as a vascular surgeon. But even though the justice system found him guilty of attempted murder, he fled while awaiting sentencing and Carly Sunderland became Cassie Gambol. Fleeing Los Angeles, she heads to small and off the map Petal, Georgia to start her life again.
Shane Chase, a man whos held himself away from commitment since his fiance dumped him several years before knows the beautiful newcomer is hiding something. He's wildly attracted to her strength and her underlying vulnerability as well. But the last thing Cassie wants is another big, overwhelming man who wants to control her life.
A battle begins between Shane, who knows what he wants and Cassie, who tries to keep a distance between herself and the very handsome sheriff. But Cassies ex is back and he wants her dead.
Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, some violent situations.
I jumped right into this re-released series and its second book in the series without having any prior knowledge of the series, and I am glad I did because I really enjoyed the story, the romance, the secondary characters, and I appreciated the way the domestic abuse and recovering of it was done.
The story has a great amount of world-building for the series, and reflection to the past events so I didn't feel like I had to read the first book to get what was happening now. The only thing that made me go 'hmm' several times was the continued references to the hero past behavior towards women.
Shane Chase is a protective, in-charge man, who loves his family, his town, and takes care of people around him. I liked him, he was over the top at times, but he was honest, he was caring, so tender and considerate with Cassie, so patience, giving her the room she needed to heal from the past abuse. It was obvious he had learned some hard lessons, it was clear he was falling in love for the very first time and fumbling with it at times, but he was transparent with his past mistakes, and he was sincere with his feelings.
Cassie Gambol is one strong, fierce, survivor. While my heart broke for her, I admired her immensely. She has lived through the ultimate betrayal by her former husband. The one who is suppose to be there for you and support you do everything in their power to break you. The story is such a strong advocate for surviving domestic abuse, and it is done with the utmost respect towards the survivor. The way the escalation of the abuse is told, and how Cassie survived, and what help there is to seek out if needed, and how long it takes to heal from the physical and mental wounds of the abuse, all told with delicately, respectfully, and carefully, the survivor's integrity intact.
I liked that the timeline on the developing romance was stretched long enough for Cassie to truly heal, also mentally, from the past, and find her place in the world again. I loved how well Cassie and Shane fit together, there was sizzling chemistry, absolutely, but there was also sweetness, adoration, caring, protecting each other, and supporting each other when needed. They were equal in more sense than not, and they were challenging each other to be their true selves, to be a better version of themselves, and I just fell in love with them, and with the whole Chase family while at it.
With a great mix of small town living, the crazy of a meddling family, adorable, sweet romance developing, and the suspense from Cassie's ex-husband hunting her, the story was intense entertaining thought-provoking and fear-filled experience that I enjoyed immensely.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
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