Passion to Protect

As he threaded his way through the trees, Jake’s prothesis caught a branch buried in leaf litter. Cursing the hurry that had made him lose his focus on his footing, he recovered from his stumble, then gritted his teeth and hurried toward the security light just outside the stable. Beneath it, he spotted the woman it still hurt to look at, even a dozen years after she had dashed his naive school-boy fantasies and kicked him to the curb. (pg 15)

After escaping an abusive marriage with her two children, Liane Mason returns to her home in Wolf River Lodge, only to find her first love Jake Whitaker staying at the lodge. Not wanting to see her high school swetheart any more than she has to, Liane avoids him at all costs. But when her ex-husband escapes from prison with a band of criminals, Jake is the only one she can turn to as they come looking for her.

This is definitely not the worst Harlequin Suspense novel I’ve read. I actually liked Jake’s character a good deal, and I wish there was more development in his back story. But unfortunately all of the characters are very two-dimensional, which is a problem in a lot of Harlequin Suspense books. In fact, my favorite character had to have been Sheriff Wallace, a man dealing with the death of his wife and a corrupt move he made years ago. Unfortunately, Liane’s character left some things to be desired. Between her playing martyr and breaking Jake’s heart for a second time, and her need to be saved by him a lot, it was hard to admire her for her strengths, and she didn’t have any personality, likable or otherwise, that wasn’t shaped by her exes. However, Thompson is successful in writing a story where love, despite all odds, can triumph.

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