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This is not my first time reading a Jennifer Ryan romance, and there's a reason for that - she is freaking fantastic! Adding this as one of my favorite books of the year is an absolute delight. It has all of the elements I love in a romance novel - damsel in distress, a hunky wounded hero, and a love that develops from a slow burn to a roaring fire. I enjoyed every bit of this book and was sad when it ended. I had to stop myself from re-reading immediately afterwards, because I have so many other books to review.
Ashley Swan is missing. An Oscar-winning actress who has been hinting at desiring some time away from the spotlight, it's not much of a surprise when she disappears from the public eye. One year later and no one has seen her - no one, that is, except for Special Agent Beck Cooke. After a daring escape from her kidnapper, Ashley collapses outside of Beck's home, starved and beaten, with a young boy in tow. Beck has been in seclusion after a job gone wrong, and while he wants to help her and the boy, he is wary of letting anyone into his very private life. But when he sees what Ashley has gone through and the healing she has in front of her, he knows there's no other place he would rather have her than in his home and in his arms.
Beck, known as Trigger to most people, is one of my favorite heroes! His protective nature and strong arms made me swoon early on in the book, and as he became more and more nurturing towards both Ashley and Adam, the young boy she rescues from her kidnapper's home, I fell more and more in love. He's added to the ranks of potential book boyfriends for life. There is one scene in the book that tugged at my heartstrings the most, and that was when Ashley saw herself for the first time in a mirror and realized the depth to which her torture had gone. Beck comes up behind her and gives her a beautifully gentle pep talk to give her the strength to move forward. I would say in ranks in the top 5 of my all-time favorite scenes in a romance novel. It's that good. Ashley is a strong character, so while I characterize her as a damsel in distress in my opening statement, she is actually her own heroine as well. Her inner strength and ability to save herself from a horrible situation is so inspiring! This is how you write a modern-day damsel - vulnerable and strong, all at the same time.
I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! I can already tell it's going to continue to get better and better. Much love to Jennifer Ryan for writing another amazing story!
**I received a free copy via Edelweiss and this is my honest review.**