Exposure by Susan Andersen
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Publication Date: April 1st 2011
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HE WILL POSSESS HER
Port Flannery is a harbor town off the coast of Washington state—quiet, picturesque, and just big enough to hide in for a while. At least that's what Emma Sands hopes when she takes a room above the local cafe. In Port Flannery, no one knows why Emma and her young daughter fled New Orleans. No one can guess how terrified she is that the danger she and Gracie left behind is drawing nearer every day.
Emma's right to be scared. Even as she finds new friends and an unexpected ally in the rugged, compelling Sheriff Donnelly, her old life is waiting to intrude. Because the obsession that drove her from New Orleans will track her down anywhere, even a place as remote as this. And this time, there will be nowhere left to run. . .
Praise for the novels of Susan Andersen
"A consistently excellent voice in romantic suspense fiction, Susan Andersen keeps on delivering captivating and thrilling novels of dangerous love and dark suspense."--Romantic Times on Exposure
"A winner." --Publishers Weekly on Bending the Rules
I’ve been a Susan Andersen fangirl for years, but this book is probably my favorite of hers.
Disclaimer: The hero of this novel is disfigured and has a hook instead of a hand, and his name is Elvis. Yes, I said Elvis. You have been warned!
In the opening scene of this book, Sheriff Elvis Donnelly is called to the only car shop in town where Emma Sands is raising hell because the mechanic is trying to take advantage of her. Now, Emma knows cars, because she grew up in a chop shop her big brother ran and she paid attention. Basically, he picked the wrong girl to mess with. Having grown up in a barn (not a chop shop) with 5 uncles who worked on cars, I totally connected with her in that moment. It just set the tone of the book for me.
Elvis has some issues. He grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and his mom was the town whore. Literally. She was a prostitute. That’s bad enough, but you figure she was a prostitute in a town of about 1000 people, and it’s even worse. Because there isn’t anyone who doesn’t. Add in the fact that he was disfigured in an explosion, and well…he’s pretty much resigned himself to the fact that he’s going to spend his life alone.j
Emma has some issues of her own. The man who took her in when her brother was busted – her surrogate father – has turned out to be something she never could have imagined, and now she and her daughter are on the run with no money in their pockets and no real game plan. Although she only plans to spend a couple nights in Port Flannery, it doesn’t quite work out that way. The town citizens really take to her and her daughter, and before she knows what’s happening she’s making friends, working on cars and falling in love with the town’s big, scarred sheriff. But she knows her time is limited, because it won’t be long before her past catches up with her.
I love pretty much everything about this book. From the way Elvis and Emma dance around each other, to the way they interacted with the townspeople and Emma’s daughter. Gracie herself is a show stealer and I truly enjoyed the parts with her in them.
I think one of the things I like best about this novel is the character growth. Though Emma and Elvis both have major issues, they work together to move forward, and you can see they genuinely care for each other. I never felt things were rushed or that they went too slow, like I was impatient for them to just get on with it already. And the way Gracie and Elvis take to each other – and her immediate and fierce defense of him – was wonderful.
The only issue I have is with the way Emma handled telling Elvis about her past, and her reason for running instead of facing it. Even though she trusts him with her daughter, she doesn’t trust him enough to talk to him or ask him for help? That seemed a bit incongruious. But once she put her trust in him, it was complete and total. So even though it bothered me, I was able to move past it.
Oh, and I think Elvis’ mom needed to suffer more than she did for how she acted.
Otherwise, an extremely well written book that while not overly emotional, touched something inside of me.
4.5 out of 5