Thrown together at their best friends’ wedding, Natalie and Tully are a little reluctant to give in to their friends’ matchmaking attempts. After all, Natalie has sworn off romance forever after escaping an emotionally abusive husband. As for Tully, as a former FBI agent turned security consultant, his life is top heavy with risk. Too much risk to bring a wife and kids into the mix.
But when it comes to light that Natalie is being stalked by an unknown person, Tully is on the case. Sparks fly as protector and protectee discover that not only are they in danger from this unknown stalker. They’re also in danger of falling in love.
This is a fun suspenseful romance featuring wonderfully developed characters. Natalie is the owner of her own hair salon and also provides a temporary safe haven victims of domestic abuse escaping their abusers. She’s a complex woman in her thirties who is intelligent, compassionate, and knows her own mind. The author also goes out of her way to show us that she possesses these qualities rather than telling us this. She isn’t Too Stupid To Live like a lot of other romance heroines and at no point does the plot count on her losing her character to advance it. Tully, like Natalie, is also a complex man. He’s got skeletons in his closet and a past he’d rather forget. He’s capable, protective, and respectful. He’s an alpha male without tipping over into a-hole territory. Frankly it was massively refreshing.
This book tackles a heap-ton of sensitive subjects. As mentioned in the summary, there’s Stalking, Domestic Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Gaslighting, and even child endangerment. The subjects are handled well, and you can tell that the author did her research.
The romance was believable and the sex hot. I really loved all of the consent that happened in this book in regards to the sex. There were multiple check-ins. And an understanding that just because a couple had had sex once that it didn’t mean that sex was on the table all the time. Again, it was refreshing.
The one thing I didn’t like was the actual ending. It features a surprise wedding which is a trope that I have a lot of issues with because it places undue burden on one person and can make that person’s answer dubious at best. It also takes away from that person’s agency. The only plus on this is that they were engaged before the wedding took place and the hero did know that the heroine didn’t want a big wedding. But he still looped like thirty or more people into the loop before asking the heroine in a grand gesture in front of all of her friends. It’s a problem. And It’s a major squick for me.
Ultimately this is a wonderful book that fans of romantic suspense will eat up like ice cream!
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.
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