After listening to Her Last Chance, the second in this series (yes, I read series out of order, all the time), I wanted to listen to this one. Nat Sullivan is a different kind of romantic hero than Marsh Hayes, and Elizabeth Ward is likewise a very different person than Josephine Maxwell. Once again, though, we have two strong, determined characters who don't quit in the face of trouble and danger.
The events of this book are hinted at in its sequel, but here we get the full account--Elizabeth and Nat's story, but also the missing bits of Josie and Marsh's story. Elizabeth and Nat are the main event here, though, and we follow the terrifying events that bring her to the Sullivan ranch, under a false name, in hiding from the mafia.
Nat's family faces its own serious challenges. A year or two ago, everything was looking great. Nat made good money as a nature photographer; they had plans to make the ranch into a stud farm, and to take in paying guests.
Then his father got sick. His illness and death ran up medical bills that nearly bankrupted them, and now they're struggling to keep the ranch at all. Elizabeth, under her assumed name, is their first paying guest, and there's a neighbor who wants to use their money crunch to force them out, for reasons that gradually become clear. Nat's mother, Rose, is also dying, of heart disease, and younger brother Ryan is a single father grieving the death of his wife. Their sister Sarah is a doctor, working at the local hospital, and a solid, kind, generous person.
Elizabeth quickly comes to care far too much about these people, and dreads bringing her mob pursuers down on them. The more she comes to care about Nat and his family, the more she knows she needs to leave.
Meanwhile, her FBI colleagues, led by Marsh Hayes, are hunting for her, too, disagreeing with her theory that she's safer if even they don't know where she is.
Once again, Anderson gives us smart, tough, vulnerable human beings, both men and women, who don't always make the right choices, but whose choices are grounded in decency and kindness. It's a very solid romantic suspense story, and you won't regret the time spent with these characters.
I bought this audiobook.