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Susan Stoker has once again created a character that I swoon over and wish existed in my life! This story has so much depth to it, that you will probably not want to move on to another book for a while. It's that emotional. She touched on a lot of sensitive subjects, one being sexual assault, and the way it was handled was so well done. Probably the best of any book I have read with that material within it. There aren't any scenes where it happens, but it's discussed and the two main characters have to work through the aftermath. It felt very realistic, and you can tell Susan did her research.
Archer "Arrow" Kane thought his mission was like any other - get in, rescue the kidnapped girl, and get her back to her family. He never expected that to find another victim alongside his target, protecting her with a fierceness that hid her own abuse and trauma at the hands of their captors. Morgan Byrd had been missing for a year, with no leads and no one even knowing she was still alive. When she is rescued by Arrow and his team, she sees him as her miracle. As they become closer and Morgan sees him as someone she can trust, she and Arrow work together to not only heal her physical and emotional wounds but also keep her safe from her kidnappers...and the one who sent them for her in the first place.
Arrow and Morgan were really a strong couple from the very beginning. Morgan was no damsel in distress, and she made sure Arrow knew it. She relied on him when she needed to, but she also protected him when the situation called for it. They became a team, and Arrow never looked at Morgan as a liability, only a worthy partner. It's always interesting to see how authors handle romance when the hero or heroine has been sexually abused. And as I said above, Susan Stoker handled it with amazing accuracy and sensitivity. I loved how slow the relationship developed, in order to give Morgan time to heal, and Arrow was alongside her every step of the way. He never reacted selfishly to the situation and showed how truly generous and kind his soul was. Even as the story progressed and they both wanted to be intimate, Morgan set the pace, and I felt that was written really well. Yes, it's definitely a slow burn romance, but the emotions you get out of both of them are so much deeper than you would expect. It's very heartwarming to read.
The book ended with a teaser about our next Mountain Mercenary, Black, getting his own romance, and I can't wait to read it! I liked him as soon as I read about him, and I'm sure his story is going to be amazing.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**