On her honeymoon, she goes for a swim, returns to the beach, and finds her husband has vanished and later learns that no one by his name ever existed. Now doesn’t that pull you in? It did me. I was excited to read this standalone romantic suspense set in Australia as a woman and a detective set out to learn the truth.
The story opens with Nikki Spenser enjoying her honeymoon with her handsome Spanish husband who she met in San Francisco and three whirlwind weeks later married in Vegas. It becomes a nightmare when Carlos vanishes without a trace and she is forced to return home angry and humiliated that he would leave her like that. Then she learns things aren’t quite that simple.
Detective Luke Emerson is not Nikki’s favorite person since five years ago when he forced her to upend her life because she witnessed a murder and she isn’t thrilled to see him now when he shares information he learned through his police contacts about her husband. Nikki thinks he is overreaching until a mysterious man breaks into her apartment and questions her about Carlos. Luke has secretly loved Nikki and it warms his heart that she now trusts him even if it hurts to know that he will always be regulated to friend status because she loves Carlos and Luke is a much older average guy. No matter what, he has to figure out who is behind the attacks on Nikki and why before they finally succeed in getting her.
This story took a twisting path to the end. It had me from the beginning with her husband’s disappearance and then the rest of the story unfolding to explain what’s going on. I really enjoyed the strength of the suspense plot though getting the other players beyond Luke and Nikki’s perspective did loosen up the tension because having their plotlines and scenes took away the mysterious quality too soon for me. Not that it went stale. No the attacks, chases, and other danger elements kept it strong.
The secondary plot of Luke and Nikki’s growing relationship was interesting too. I didn’t care for Nikki at first when it came to her time with Luke because she acted like a petulant, ungrateful brat who saw what she wanted to see. But she got over that and started appreciating Luke’s finer qualities so that even her hot Spanish lover of a disappearing husband lost his appeal next to a steady, trustworthy guy like Luke. Nikki might have been an adult by her age, but yet this suspenseful adventure was when she finally grew up.
The balance between suspense and romance teeters back and forth with much of the book focused on the suspense. The romance elements are subtle and slowly unfurl until the end. It is sweet and tender though I have no doubt that what happens beyond the final page of this book will become more. I think Nikki’s in for a pleasant surprise once she get past the suppressed nature of Luke’s emotions and actions.
All in all, this was an engaging story and I enjoyed that it was set in Sydney and included a lush description of the setting. I’ve read one other book by this author and would definitely pick up more from her. This is definitely for the romantic suspense lovers who like slower developing romance and strong suspense.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #176 RS
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