In the Running by Dee Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The story was well written and detailed. Reenie and Matt are unlikely lovers. One is running from her fiance who would kill her while the other is deeply afraid of commitment. Matt's protective instincts are triggered when a bruised and battered Reenie crashes into his life. Even though he is suspicious of her and her secrets, he is attracted to her in a way he doesn't understand.
His family is supportive and accepting of Reenie. Unfortunately they can't keep the outside world from intruding. Without giving away more of the plot, let's just say Matt uses his investigative skills to solve the puzzle and his persuasive skills to hold off would-be helpers who didn't understand the magnitude of the situation.
The romance was well done and believable, if a bit uneven at time. For example, Matt's sudden anger at realizing who Reenie is seemed put on. I would have thought he'd be more curious. Reenie was also inconsistent. On one hand she wanted to protect Matt's innocent family, but she refused to go into Witness Protection while the Feds worked the case and hung out with his family, including participation at a children's birthday party and bake sale.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of this story is lack of tension. After the initial acknowledgment of love, neither really did anything to blow the other's trust. Several times, I thought they could have upped the stakes, maybe have Reenie disappear even though she promised Matt she wouldn't, or have Matt put her in a witness protection program without her approval.
We also knew who the bad guys were from the beginning of the story. And at 75% the story slowed to a crawl with a lengthy explanation from a double agent. I kept expecting the double agent to double cross them. I expected a kidnapping, or a betrayal, but instead from 75% to 95% we were occupied by a waiting game as people checked computer trails and databases and planned the arrests. The bad guys knew where she was for a day or two but were deterred by a few dogs and a fence with an alarm. Some "professional" hit men they turned out to be.
Of course there was the obligatory climax, but even then I was pretty much assured that Matt and his police buddy knew where she was, and indeed they did. In sum, the bad guys were not ruthless enough and the good guys were too passive. I did enjoy the love story and subplot with the boat. The steamy moments were well written.
I liked the story, but I'm the type who likes to be kept guessing and hit with unforeseen twists.
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