Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter's face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.
Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he's definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she's attracted to him in a way she can't explain.
Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister's wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she'll be called to testify. But they've been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence-or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie's shadow until the trial, and it isn't long before sparks fly.
Why was this the first Julie Garwood book that I've read??? Inquiring minds want to know! Ok, maybe not, but I want to know how I've missed her books!!
Ellie Sullivan has lived her life under a very dark shadow. Sure she's just finished her residency and fellowship as a trauma surgeon and is the darling of the department, but that one accomplishment has been marred by events that happened when she was eleven and left for dead by obsessed teenager, Evan Patterson. To ensure her safety, her family moved her hundreds of miles away and kept her a secret from everyone in their family and their close knit town.
So it's understandable that Ellie is unsure on what her next steps should be. She's been looking over her shoulder wondering when Evan Patterson would appear again (having gotten off practically scottfree). The last thing she needed was to find herself smack dab in the middle of another crime, but as luck would have it she was. She's landed in the middle of a huge illegal weapon and murder for hire investigation.
Agent Max Daniels doesn't take crap from anyone. He's gruff, rough and direct. When he sees Ellie, he has two reactions to her: attraction and protection. The attraction he could deal with, since he has always leaned towards short term (the shorter the better) relationships. Although he doesn't get the feeling that Ellie was that type of person, he could curb those feelings. It's the protectiveness that gets to him, because he hasn't had those feelings before.
Those feelings kick into high gear when he finds out the chief suspects of the illegal weapons investigation he's been working on, the Landrys, have put a hit out on Ellie. Their hope is to get rid of a possible witness. Max's only thought is to protect Ellie. To protect her, he must follow her to her hometown of Winston Falls, South Carolina, where she's gone to attend her sister's wedding.
It's in Ellie's hometown that we get to know the Sullivan family.
* We meet her guilt ridden parents, who can't get over the tragic events that reshaped their family.
*Her sister Ava (youngest half of Ellie's twin sisters), who's "it's all about me" attitude would have me drinking heavily and then engaging in a physical altercation with her, is marrying Ellie's ex-fiance. That little tidbit causes more drama, as their good Southern mother tries to sweep everything under the rug and pretend they are a happy family. Again...heavy drinking would ensue if this were me.
*Her other sister, Annie, has just finished law school, determined to make sure what happened to Ellie doesn't happen to anyone else. But she's got a little drama of her own, with her boyfriend running off without a word and all.
While all that is going on, we still have the Landry's hired gun(s) after Ellie and then a certain someone from her past decides to make an appearance.
The suspense was good, if not predicable. The cast of characters was great (Ava's lucky she's fictional because I still want to slap her for being such a bitch).
There were only 2 things that bothered me:
*Although we get up close and personal with Ellie's family, we never really find out that much about Max. His adoptive parents had to have molded him into the person that he is today, so it would have been great to have gotten a glimpse at them...even if it was just in the epilogue.
*What was with throwing the bit part about Annie in at the end of the story? Holy hell, it was like hitting a patch of ice. I'm glad to see everything worked out for her, but really? Did it belong there?
Great beach read (and I did read this at the beach yesterday). Solid storyline and characters.