A stand alone novel, published July 6, 2010.
Genre: Contemporary romance with some suspense
It’s been a few years since Fiona Bristow moved to Orcas Island to rebuild her life. Within the small, tight-knit island community she’s built op a canine rescue centre that trains dogs to track missing persons in Washington’s vast wilderness.
Other than her work, Fiona wants to be left alone. Romantic entanglements are very far down on her list – and certainly not with Simon Doyle, an artist newly arrived from the mainland. Simon doesn’t know that Fiona harbours a terrible secret, and that her past will puts them both in very real danger …
Fiona Bristow is happy with her new life as a dog trainer on the Orcas Island, her beloved stepmother lives close buy, and she has some good friends, and of course her three great Labrador dogs. They work and play together, and they are certified search and rescue dogs. When called on a search and rescue mission, Fiona rotates the dogs, as she can handle only one at a time. When Fiona was in college, she was targeted by a serial killer after athletic young females. But she managed to escape, the first one who ever did that. In retaliation, he killed her fiancé Greg, and his police dog/partner Kong. But not before Kong took a bite out of Perry, and delayed him long enough to get caught. He is sitting out a lifelong sentence for the multiple murders he committed. But Perry might be in prison, he never did forget about Fiona.
Simon is a wood artist, and relatively new to Orcas. He makes the most gorgeous objects and furniture with wood. His mother gave him a puppy, so he would not be lonely. As he loves his mother, he could not refuse her. But the young dog he named Jaws, is driving him mad. He eats everything in sight, and doesn’t give him much chance to work. So, desperately, he searches out Fiona, as he heard she is a very good dog trainer. But in order to train his dog to obey and be well mannered, Simon needs some training as well, in how to handle his dog.
I loved those parts of the book, they are so good and plain funny.
Simon and Fiona are attracted to each other, even though Simon bluntly tells her she is not his type. But when Fiona gets the awful news, that there is a serial killer on the loose again, who is copying Perry, she is terrified all over again. And to his own surprise, Simon is there for her, to listen to her fears and support her. He even starts sleeping over, and wants to do whatever it takes to keep her safe, especially when the new killer starts targeting Fiona. And then there is the heartless reporter who wants to make her career with this case, and who harasses Fiona, and exposes everything about her new life in the paper. Making it very easy for the killer to find her, and focus on her, again!
Of course the FBI is hot on the trail, but it is not easy identifying this new killer, let alone find him. They will need Perry’s help for that, as they are sure he must have trained this new killer somehow.
All this danger certainly made the relationship between Simon and Fiona go faster than both has anticipated, having Simon go totally protector, while Fiona is more than capable of protecting herself, and she also has her dogs and her gun. He becomes very highhanded in decision making at times, and somehow, Fiona just thinks it sweet.
I really like and admire Fiona for the life she has build for her self, and how strong and capable she is. She is down to earth, and not a girly girl. She is great with dogs, and with people, and I loved the rescue missions described in the book.
And then there is Simon, who is totally not a people person, who is very blunt and sparse with words. Still he does nice things for Fiona and the puppy really grew on him. It is just the over protectiveness I dislike when it is so not necessary.
They never really did fight, Fiona always gave in to him, found it sweet that he cared for her in that way. Fiona is a neat freak, and Simon is very messy, and he thinks she is training him like a dog to become more domestic, like picking up his towel and clothes. And he resents that. But she does not consciously do that. I think it is normal in a relationship that you both give and take a little.
The suspense was not the on the edge of your seat, bite your nails kind of thing. For me, it never did get exciting or close. I did like how that reporter got what she had coming though. Call me vengeful, it was a nice surprise.
There are big parts of the book I really enjoyed, but both the relationship part, and the suspense part, did little for me. Could be my mood though, don’t take my word for it. It took me a few evenings to finish the book, as it is rather thicker than usual. But laying it down was easy, and a good book is never easy to put down and go to bed on time.
One thing that bothered me though: Stella Ex Libris recently blogged about using birth control and condoms in romance novels. And I agree, it is important to set the example for readers, so they get used to it in real life as well. Stella stated, that Nora Roberts never discusses it in her books, or rather, her main characters don’t. And she is right. In this book there are a few fast and furious lovescenes, no condoms are used, there is no talk about the possibility of getting pregnant, or getting a disease. While the hero just ended a relationship with a famous person. Perhaps I would never have noticed it if I had not read this blogpost, but now I did notice it, and I don’t like it. Two consenting adults never once discuss the possibilities of her getting pregnant.