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Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance
Guest Reviewer at: Reading Between the Wines book club
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Shay recognizes the crazy man trying to flag down a car as her sexy Navy SEAL neighbor, she pulls over and thus begins the ride of her life.
Peter is desperate to find his daughter and when he thinks he sees her get into a van, he knows this is his chance to get her. After an unsuccessful car chase, he finds surprising help from his neighbor.
Drug deals gone bad, the pain of loss, hurtful memories, and relationships being born and mended, Shay and Peter have quite the journey ahead of them.
The nineteenth installment in the long popular Troubleshooters series, this can be read as a standalone, as long as you don't mind missing out on the numerous in and outs of the wide cast characters. Our main couple, Shay and Peter, along with a small secondary romance involving Peter’s daughter and her older guy friend, starts fresh here so you wouldn't miss out on any details there. One of the strengths of Ms. Brockmann's stories is her ability to juggle and incorporate characters, romance, and storylines. Those components were numerous here but I'm not sure they were all pulled off.
Our hero's daughter, Maddie, is coming to live with him after her mother died; she's fifteen and hasn't seen her father in years. This is due to Peter being a Navy SEAL and what appears to be a mother who wanted to somewhat color Peter in a less than flattering light. Maddie gets caught up in a missing ten thousand dollars owed to a drug dealer and takes off to find her friend, who got her into trouble, with the friend's ex-boyfriend. This situation simply felt too forced, Maddie has a Navy SEAL father, yes, she's a sullen teenager of fifteen and doesn't have a strong relationship with him, but her life was threatened, it was a stretch to think she would take off on her own. The author provides us an outline of how mature Maddie is in some aspects, taking care of her mother and having more common sense than the twenty year old she is with, and flips the coin to show how immaturely she thinks her father is "stupid". It felt like the author was trying to have it both ways to force the storyline the way she wanted. As this is the backbone for the book, it set-up a wobbly premise with me that I don't think the story ever overcame.
Our heroine is a romance writer and when we are first introduced to her, one of her characters likes to "speak" to her and had her continuously saying "shh" out loud. It levels off as the story continues but I personally found it somewhat intrusive, I'm trying to get to know the "real" characters in the beginning, and annoying, Shay's speaking out loud to a fictional character gave a tint of corniness. I also found it a bit odd her full throttle willingness to involve herself in Peter's situation but romantic suspense usually requires a bit of lenience. Shay's character as a whole, though, was fun, capable, interesting, and someone I'd definitely want as a friend.
Peter's attitude and actions had him coming off as a genuine good guy, with a wonderful dash of wit and charisma. There was a lack of usual rom suspense action (until the very end) that had me missing him showcasing his special ops skills. He wonderfully wears his dress whites but that's almost the full extent we get of any Navy SEAL-ness. His and Shay's romance is a whirlwind that takes place over 5-6 days, so insta-lust/love does play a part here.
In order to bring Peter and Maddie together, the author has Peter tell Shay how Maddie's mother and he got together. It's a sweet way to bond father and daughter but having it go through Shay, she types up the story segments and sends them to Maddie, had it feeling a little weird and not coming off quite right. I would have liked to have Shay and Peter bonding moments over the inclusion of these stories.
Overall, this had the multi-faceted, all inclusive plethora of characters and storyline offshoots Ms. Brockmann excels at but I also did feel the romance was lacking and I missed a bit more action. If you're a Troubleshooters reader, you'll probably enjoy seeing past cast members and everyone won't want to miss Peter and Shay try to "myth bust" one of her book's sex scenes.