Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #3
Also in this series: Fan the Flames (Search and Rescue #2), In Safe Hands
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He's the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There's just one problem-Ellie's everything George isn't. She's a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.
With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.
Ellie's determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey...
Another Search and Rescue book! Woo!
In book 3, we finally get to learn more about the mysterious George Holloway, the extremely silent but skilled member of the dive team and the best in the area at mountain survival. Ellie Price comes to town looking for her dad, Baxter Price, who is an older man tied up somehow in the murder plot that’s been running through the series. She believes Baxter is trying to hide out at a family cabin in the wilderness, and she hires George to take her there since it’s several days hike from an accessible road. Their expedition ends up going sideways, and pretty soon both Ellie and her dad are involved in a danger tied to the same murder that set all the events into motion.
As with the first two books in series, this one is told primarily from the heroine’s point of view, but here we do get a few very brief scenes from George’s point of view. This is necessary because there are a few times where Ellie is incapacitated/unavailable so George’s perspective is needed and also because George speaks so very little that without a peek into his perspective it would be difficult to know what his deal was! Taciturn would definitely be an understatement–I feel pretty confident saying I personally have never read a book with a hero who talks less than George. For example, he had several extended interactions with Ellie, including her explaining her task and hiring him to guide her, before he utters even a single word. Now THAT’S a guy who doesn’t like to talk.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t sweet and caring! He is the kind of hero who shows his love through taking care of someone, and over time, he starts to do all those little actions to care for Ellie. He essentially spent his entire adult life alone after his dad died when he was 17, and once he meets Ellie he has to acknowledge he’s lonelier than he realized. He’s also inexperienced with women (minor spoiler: virgin hero alert!), but it’s handled well because the book takes time to build their attraction and explores their physical relationship slowly. George is a freaking adorable mountain man who’s big, hairy, and impossibly tender underneath his rough exterior, and I loved him for it. And he does warm to Ellie and start talking eventually. He’ll never be a chatterbox, but Ellie clearly makes him want to connect and reach out to someone. She brings out the best in him, and her patience and sensitivity were the perfect match for him. They truly made one of the cutest romance couples I’ve read about in a long time.
I really love the humor in this series, and this book was no exception. My favorite part was the first half of the book, when Ellie and George are hiking through the wilderness and she is trying to figure out how to handle this huge guy who grunts more than he talks. But the biggest comedy gold in the book comes once again from Lou, the heroine from book 1. I am madly in love with her and the more I hear from her, the more she rises to the top of my “favorite heroines” pile. These books are just so rich in unique characters you can’t help but want to get to know better.
I desperately want to talk about the ending because..like, WHOA. I will restrain myself and not spoil it, but just know when I read it I let out a desperate and loud “Noooooo!” It’s a major twist I am conflicted about, and it’s making me question wtf is going on in this town.
There were some minor issues that stopped this book from shooting straight to 5 stars, like some weird handling of a guy who (it’s implied) may be an attempted rapist. (Rest assured there is no rape in the book, but the implication given is that this one character might do such a thing if given the chance, which I thought was kind of a heavy issue to work in but then largely ignore.) Thank goodness these books are coming out in fairly quick succession (In Safe Hands comes out Oct 4) because I do not want to wait to find out how this all ends. I am thoroughly hooked.
Grade: 4.5 out of 5
*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.