Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s gripping new novel, a young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it. . .
It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.
First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.
But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.
In college, Sasha had been the only surviving victim of The Groom, a serial killer who preyed on young women in the town. The memories were too much for her, so she moved away and cut off ties with everyone except her mom and best friend. One of those she left behind was her boyfriend, Cole. She never saw him again after the night of her attack, but she never quite forgot him. She finally decides to move back home again to help her mom run the family B&B, and once Cole realizes she’s back in town he shows up, because it turns out Cole never forgot her either. Soon, frightening things start happening to Sasha, and more girls start disappearing. Sasha has to overcome her fear and help Cole (an FBI agent) figure out what is going on.
This is my first Jennifer Armentrout book, and I enjoyed it. I liked the way Sasha was portrayed. She was tortured by The Groom and is understandably traumatized. I thought her level of fear and her emotional challenges were perfectly appropriate, but she also is determined and has worked hard in therapy and on her own to cope with what happened to her. I appreciated that Cole is understanding and patient, too. He doesn’t push her into anything she doesn’t want. He just wants to be around her, if she’ll have him. He carries a lot of guilt over the past, as he was the last one to see Sasha before she was abducted. It’s clear that the guilt shaped his whole life, and it shows you he’s truly a good guy.
The story is told from Sasha’s point of view only, which is not my favorite. While I liked Cole, it was hard to connect to him when we didn’t get to hear his side. He obviously cares for Sasha a great deal, but I think some of the emotional punch gets lost because we don’t know how HE felt about the danger swirling around Sasha. The other weak point of the book is that the mystery is a little contrived. The killer is fairly easy to identify, and there were just a lot of coincidences and convenient plot points. It’s not a bad mystery, just not particularly unique.
I would have liked a little more focus on the romance, but I enjoyed this one more than I thought I might.
Grade: 4 out of 5