by Juno Rushdan
Series: Cowboy State Lawmen #1
Also in this series: Wyoming Christmas Stalker, Wyoming Mountain Hostage, Wyoming Mountain Murder
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Source: the author
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
What was more treacherous—Confronting a killer or her ex-boyfriend?
Having to do the unthinkable to stop a murderous patient has consumed psychotherapist Lynn Delgado with fear and guilt. And because of his dangerous job, she’s ended her relationship with lawman Nash Garner. But when a serial killer targets Lynn, she must overcome her resistance to protection. As she flees the killer in a raging blizzard, Nash follows, risking everything to save the woman he's falling for.
I’ve been a fan of Juno Rushdan’s romantic suspense books for quite a while now, so of course I was elated to see that she had a new series coming out, supposedly all set in Wyoming. Not only does it have all the action and suspense that I’ve come to expect, but it’s also a second chance romance!
Lynn’s a psychotherapist so she knows very well that people can’t change unless they want to. Frustrated with her FBI boyfriend Nash’s long working hours and refusal to open up to her, she dumps him. Nash, confused and certain that they can work it out, shows up at her office only to find one of Lynn’s former patients threatening her with a gun, but is too late to prevent Lynn from shooting him in self-defense. Even shaken by the incident, Lynn still refuses to accept Nash’s apologies and cuts contact completely. But the shooter is just the first part of a plot with her as the target. With an unknown threat hanging over them, will Lynn give Nash a second chance at protecting her and her heart?
“Getting things right the first time wasn’t his forte, but he was a quick learner and never made the same mistake twice.”
Nash was raised that the best way to show others you care was with your actions, not words. His childhood, his time in the army, and his FBI job have all taught him to compartmentalize his feelings and he can’t understand why Lynn is so hung up on him being “emotionally unavailable.” Deep down, he’s afraid that opening up and showing Lynn all his messy feelings and traumas will lead to her pitying him, or even worse, rejecting him. But he knows she’s the only one for him and he’ll do anything to get her back.
“I can’t be with someone who won’t talk to me,” she said. “Who hides their past and their emotions. I told you it was a deal breaker and you didn’t care.”
It wasn’t that he didn’t care. “Compared to everything else going on,” he said, thinking about his job, putting away criminals, “it didn’t seem like a big deal.” He watched a different kind of pain fill her eyes, and he regretted the words. “I mean I thought I had more time to work on it.”
Lynn can’t deny that she loves Nash but she’s tired of him avoiding anything emotional in their relationship. The added whammy of her guilt over the shooting plus a handful of threatening letters make her want to seek him out for comfort, but she knows it’ll only prolong the pain of getting over their relationship. Forced back into contact with him because of more attacks against her, his attempts to rekindle their relationship, to fall back into their old patterns are tempting. But if Nash isn’t willing to do the work, what’s the point?
I’m a big fan of the second chance trope so naturally I’ve read a ton of them. It was a nice change of pace to have the attempt at a second chance come immediately after the breakup. The book is mainly from Lynn and Nash’s POVs so it was interesting to see both of their perspectives. I spent a lot of time wanting to smack Nash upside the head for completely disregarding Lynn’s need for more communication in their relationship, though by the end of the book I was satisfied that he now understood why it was so important to her. It is a closed door book, which I was not expecting from this author.
As for the suspense, the plot moves along quickly and with plenty of action. There were a few eyebrow-raising moments (yes, going off to a remote inn in a blizzard while a serial killer may be stalking you is a GREAT idea) but for the most part the plot was believable and nicely twisty. I read the book in almost one sitting because I was so wrapped up in the plot.
Overall, another great romantic suspense from the author, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this series!
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