Ever since Sam lost his girlfriend in a falling accident, he insists on climbing solo. But Hope and any potential survivors need his help. As Sam and Hope set out on an emergency search-and-rescue mission, he realizes the sparks still sizzle between them. And when they learn a killer is among the survivors, they must place their trust in each other for a chance at happiness.
Comment: This is the second installment in the Aftershock series by author Jill Sorenson. I ended up liking the first book a lot and in the following months will finish the series. This didn't have a romance as sexy as the first but offered enough elements to make it a good story.
When a small plane crashes, Ranger Hope Banning puts a hold on her vacations with her sister to help see if anyone needs help. There aren't many people around to help in her climbing except Sam Rutherford, someone she would prefer not to see again.
Sam obviously recognizes the woman with whom he was months ago and that makes it an awkward situation when he is asked to work with her but despite their attraction he feels he can't really let it develop any further, even more after he treated her. But they are in the middle of a deal gone wrong and problems start everywhere. On the hopes of solving the case, can Hope and Sam reconnect and make it work this time?
I liked this book for the most part but in terms of plot, it was slightly less appealing (for the group dynamics) than the first one. I just think it wasn't always fun to red about the enemies and how they would do this or that. It made a not as vibrant read to me, although several other elements made it all work overall.
The plot wasn't complicated but I didn't always find it easy to follow, especially because drug related plots isn't something I find much interested in, and in this case the runaway guy and the enemies were related to a drug dealing business which certainly didn't attract my attention. I was simply content that things ended well for our protagonists, even more because the explanations behind the plot weren't as interesting as all that...
Sam and Hope's relationship is what really made interested in this story and why I kept reading with some curiosity. They had been together months ago and we are told things didn't went all good between them. Of course we know about Sam's emotional issues, he is a recurrent character from the first book. We know he has suffered some amnesia and was in a coma but I liked how he took the steps to tell himself he could move on and in Hope he saw not the person who would destroy his memories of the past but the woman who could help keeping them in the past and feel alive now, he didn't die after all.
Hope was the biggest surprise, she isn't a loud or obvious female protagonist, we kept finding little clues about her, the past she tried to deal with by becoming more isolated from others and so on. I actually liked the author went a little bit into psychological stuff like the martyr complex. Well, not completely but there are little things in Hope that can allow her to be described like that. It's not an extreme example but I was fascinated by how her image of herself and her actions could influence her actions. This was what truly engaged me in this novel. I liked Hope a lot and the fact she, obviously (in a sort of sappy way) let go of her issues along Sam and they managed to find their HEA.
As always, there is a small secondary romance included, Hope's sister and the guy everyone is after in the beginning. This was not believable simply because the scenes with them together don't rally convince me they felt something for each other besides lust. We are left with positive vibes about them at the end but... anyway, that's also not the main focus so I could just overlook it in the whole scheme of things.
It was good to see Owen, another character from the first book and the hero of the next one, which I'll read next month.
Overall, this was a good story, enough adventure and some suspense to make things more intriguing but I was sold mostly on the romance and the little details that enabled both protagonists to go from one point to another, achieving happiness.
I hope the next one is as good as it seems to promise in terms of characterization.