Series: Wild Country
Author: Loreth Anne White
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 1, 2009
Coming home was anything but safe to Muirinn O'Donnell. The successful journalist, single, pregnant and proud, was back in her Alaskan hometown, investigating her grandfather's death - and finding evidence of a conspiracy. Muirinn turned to the one person who could protect her - her first love, rugged bush pilot Jett Rutledge. Though years had passed since they'd seen each other, Muirinn trusted him.
She felt strong with Jett on her side, but wondered how long his kindness would last. Because Muirinn had kept a painful secret from Jett for eleven long years. If he found out, she feared he might never forgive her.
Twenty years ago, the small town of Safe Harbor had been torn in half by an explosion in the gold mine, that killed twelve miners, including Muirinn O'Donell's father. Her mother followed him quickly, completely devastating Muirinn that fled her hometown eleven years ago, carrying her lover's child, never turning back. She couldn't, the father of her son, the son she'd given up for a private adoption, had sworn he would hate her forever.
Now, Muirinn is finally back, seven months pregnant, determined to begin anew with her grandfather's inheritance. The grandfather that recently died, fallen to his death in one of the old mine shafts. Muirinn knows there's something hinky about her grandfather's death, something that might lead to uncovering what truly happened twenty years ago.
But by snooping around, digging up old secrets, she's put her and her baby's life at stake. And the only person she trusts and can keep her safe is Jett, her first and only love, the lover that had sworn to hate her forever, the man who, despite refusing to follow her to LA eleven years ago, traveled to Las Vegas a few months after her departure, got married and had a son...A family that should've been hers.
The prologue was chilling and promising a helluva book. But after the first chapter I hated it. Irrational, I know, especially because it had nothing to do with the overall plot, but because of the fact the hero was married (not to the heroine) and had a son with that wife. Wait! How the heck can they get together if he's married? Will the wife be the villain? Will she die horribly in a car crash? Will she end up in a mental institution? And how the heck could he have a son with another woman, when the heroine never stopped loving him, searching for him in every guy she's met and dated?! Unforgivable!
Boy was I wrong! And I loved this book even more because I was so wrong with my first impression in that first chapter.
Anyway, this little gem is an almost picture perfect romantic suspense story. It has a great, solid plot, good pacing, wonderful characters (flawed just perfectly to make it real), great setting (I fell in love with Alaska), a huge secret spanning twenty years, and so many layers of secrets, half-truths, and blatant lies it was riveting.
It were those secrets that really made the story alive. The town has kept a secret of mass murder for twenty years, the heroine kept a secret (their child) from the hero, the hero kept not one but two secrets from the heroine with the help of her now-deceased grandfather.
Trust was put to the test in this book, beliefs deeply rocked, families torn apart, all in the name of the truth and closure.
The romance blended perfectly with the suspense, the angst between the characters palpable, adding that extra touch of realism to the drama between the hero and heroine, twining nicely with little tidbits about the conspiracy sprinkled here and there throughout the story.
Ms. White took all these elements, mixed them up, blended them together wonderfully into an amazing, deep, and layered story. A 5-star keeper!