Friday, October 31, 2014

Boneyard Ridge - Paula Graves (HI #1529 - Nov 2014)

Series: The Gates (Book 3)

Completing his latest assignment could impact investigator Hunter Bragg's future. But only if he can keep Susannah Marsh alive.

All Hunter Bragg wanted in Purgatory, Tennessee, was a little peace of mind. A private investigator plagued by his own guilt, he never imagined his next job would resurrect old demons. Targeted by an anarchistic militia group, events planner Susannah Marsh is his next mission: keep her close…keep her alive. But Susannah has a secret. A secret that will reveal the true motive of her potential assailants. For Hunter, being Susannah's protector soon becomes more than just a job. And in order to succeed, there can be no half measures. With undeniable attraction simmering between them, he's determined not to let the promise of a better future fall into the hands of ruthless predators.

Very good book with plenty of action and romance. Hunter had come back home after being injured in Afghanistan. He was physically recovering but dealing with a lot of anger over not being able to do what he used to do, and guilty feelings over being the only one in his unit to survive. These feelings were exacerbated when he was taken hostage by a local militia group to force his sister to do their dirty work. After his rescue he found himself getting involved in fights as a way to release his anger, until he was recruited by Alexander Quinn to work in his firm of investigators. His mission was to infiltrate that militia group to discover what they were up to, and then to protect Susannah from them.

Susannah had no idea of the danger she was in until she was leaving work one night and someone started shooting at her. She was then all but kidnapped by Hunter, who she only knew as a maintenance worker at her hotel. She didn't trust him at first, and made sure he knew it. Even once she knew about the threat to her and the reason behind it, she was very wary of him. She has good reason not to trust men she doesn't know. She has spent years building a new Susannah to escape the trouble she left behind her, but it doesn't take too long before she realizes that she can trust him.

I loved the initial interactions between Hunter and Susannah. He was determined to protect her no matter what she wanted, and Susannah wasn't about to blindly accept whatever he told her. Hunter's initial impression of her was that she was a citified princess that was going to make his job that much more difficult. He got quite a surprise when he discovered that underneath all the sophistication was a very capable mountain girl. I really enjoyed seeing Susannah stand up to Hunter and show him what she was made of. They developed a mutual respect that also enabled them to open up about their pasts, adding to the growing connection between them. They also tried to fight the attraction they felt to each other, but that was a losing battle. 

The suspense and action in the story had me finishing this book in one sitting. We don't know at the beginning why Susannah is on the militia's hit list, but they are determined to take her out. It is up to her and Hunter to figure out what they are up to. I liked the way that each of them had strengths that when combined made it possible for them to make the connections. But it doesn't all go smoothly even then, as Susannah's past rears its ugly head and adds another layer to the danger she is in. I loved the way that she kept her head and made her rescue possible. I loved seeing how it went down and the part that the operatives of The Gates played.

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