Review: The Past Came Hunting by Donnell Ann Bell

Posted January 27, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Fifteen years ago a young Colorado Springs police officer arrested a teen runaway accused of aiding a convenience store robbery and attempted murder. She was innocent, but still served prison time briefly. Her testimony sent the real thief to jail for much longer. Now she’s a young widow raising a son, and the man she put in prison is free and seeking revenge. 

She moves to a home in a new neighborhood—then learns that her next-door neighbor is the by-the-book officer who arrested her. Now he’s a Colorado Springs P.D. Lieutenant. Like it or not, he may be the only one who can protect her and her son from the past he helped create
When Melanie was 17 years old she ran away from home. After a harrowing experience with an old trucker she accepted a ride from what she thought was a just a good looking guy. He’s nice enough until the next morning when they stop at a convenience store and while she’s in the bathroom the guy, Drake Maxwell, tries to rob and murder the store clerk. Melanie tries to save the clerk but in doing so makes it impossible for her to get away from the scene of the crime in time to save herself. Since she was on dope at the time the cops believe that she was complicit in the robbery and attempted murder. She receives 5 years with a plea bargain but only serves 9 months. Part of her plea is to testify again Drake Maxwell. He gets 15 years in prison and makes no secret about the fact that he will come for Melanie when he gets out.
Now it’s 15 years later and Melanie is a hard-working mom who just wants a normal life. Her husband has died and she’s moved to another city to try and hide herself from Maxwell when he gets out of prison. Little does she know that when she finally meets her next door neighbor and father of the boy that her son Luke has become so attached, she finds that he is none other than the man who arrested her 15 years ago. Neither of them want their children around the other but soon find that ending the boys’ friendship is impossible.
Joe looks further into Melanie’s background from when she was released from prison and Melanie is pissed. Joe states that he did it strictly to find out if he should be worried about his son spending so much time at her house but he’s really quite intrigued by Melanie. She is absolutely nothing like what he’s thought her to be all these years and he finds himself not only wanting to get to know her better but being incredibly attracted to the beautiful woman.
Melanie wants nothing to do with Joe except to keep their kids friends. Her son lost his father and he had been so happy since they’d moved and he’d formed the friendship with Matt. She wants nothing to ruin his happiness. She starts to view Joe in a completely different light and after getting to know the man realizes that he’s not who she thought all these years. Once the barriers between the two come down they can’t seem to keep away from each other but there are more obstacles in their way – especially Joe’s job and how the higher ups feel about Joe the Lieutenant being with Melanie the ex-con.
Throughout the story we also get to see things from Drake Maxwell’s pov and follow him as he gets out of prison. The choices that he makes and the personality that comes from the man truly shows the psychotic human that Drake truly is. He’s making plans for Melanie, among many others, and he won’t stop until she’s pays.
I have to say that I really like romantic suspense stories when I read them – but I’m not normally drawn to them all that much so read them rarely. I’m so happy that I picked this one up and decided to read it. The book had such a feel of reality to it that I really felt like the characters were living the events as they happened.
As I had said before Melanie was a hard-working mom and had been for quite a while. She’d not had an easy life either before or after she met Drake Maxwell but she’d really made a good life for herself. She had some crazy events happen to her even before Drake came back but she managed to get through them – mostly with Joe’s help.
Joe was just a great guy. He was a good cop and though his family had been torn apart by divorce he really tried to make the most of the time he had with his son. Yes, he could have spent more time with his boy but with his job calling him away as often as it did it was difficult. Luckily his son knew that he loved him and dealt with the separations as they came.
Joe and Melanie had some really tough times trying to deal with their lives and how those lives intertwined. I thought that the couple really tried to do what was best for everyone and in the end it worked out – with a little help from an unlikely source.
If you like a good romance with a lot of suspense built in then this book is not to be missed. Just a really great book that’s definitely worth reading.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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