Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.
Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.
But not if the real monster gets to her first...
Comment: I was quite surprised when I realized this book would be released when it was. I guess I got so used to the release dates the author often has that I was not expecting this book to be released at this moment and not only later. This means I was positively surprised and very glad this would be in my hands soon.
In this book we have a story once again set mostly in the Baltimore area, which means we would reconnect again with characters from the books set there. The main character is Taylor Dawson, a young woman who is working as a therapist at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's farm. Taylor has applied to the farm to work but she also has a secret agenda, she wants to know more about Clay Maynard, the security director. Taylor also wants to get to know Clay because she is the daughter he never acknowledged, a lie her mother told her all life and only while dying did she say the truth. Now Taylor wants to see if she can have any sort of relationship with Clay but she turns out to be an important piece in a murder investigation too. Can she be safe enough to make it possible for her to finally understand what happened in the past?
Faithful fans of Karen Rose's books certainly remember how much Clay looked for and needed to find his missing daughter Sienna after a bad experience trying to meet her when she was a child. He lost contact and now desperately looks for her still, even after getting his own story and HEA with Stevie Mazetti.
I was so happy when I saw this would be a book featuring the reunion between father and daughter. I expected some emotional scenes and was not disappointed.
The book is structured pretty much as any other book by the author is. There's a crime, there's the investigation and the details about everyone and everything piling up until the end. But this book is different because the romance, in this book centered around Taylor and Ford (Daphne's son) is just the beginning of the relationship and not its complete stages. Let's say the end is more a HFN which is acceptable since they are young and haven't known each other for long like most couples in previous books did.
I also think this suits the timeline too. Some readers say the story is not fast paced but I liked we had time to see important discussions. I also like how believable the relationship is after only 2 days; the author didn't make them swear eternal love after such a short amount of time although, for us, romantic readers, the clues, the timing and the fit are all there.
This book is also a bit outside the norm because we know who the villain is from the beginning. I can understand how most readers love the suspense but I actually don't mind, the mystery might not be there but the other characters obviously don't know it, so we can actually feel we are ahead, I like this actually. It was also nice to have a villain that was not a complete psychopath, all the actions and decisions were based on simple things like addiction and greed and a lack of care, not a complex plot while on the outside presenting the perfect persona. But I suppose this is just a matter of personal preference and other readers thought it was too easy.
Of course the emotional element was key in this book. I liked all the conversations, all the scenes involving the characters, their lives and connections. It was like meeting old friends again, knowing something new about their lives now...and I can say I smiled and "awwed" a lot through he story. The scene when Clay sees Taylor for the first time was strong and it was very emotional. Until the end there were other situations (family and professional ones) to consider and I feel very glad they worked out well and in a way we can accept and that will still make sense in future books, if they exist.
All in all, this was a great story for me, I loved spending time with the characters and I confess I wouldn't mind more books like this one but I suppose the author will go back to her usual in the next one.