Suspicious death? Art forgery? Witness Protection Program? Mob? Hot US Marshall? Mistrustful heroine? How could I possibly go wrong with this story? I grabbed up the opportunity to read it and I was not disappointed.
The story begins when Olivia’s father dies and leaves her a letter revealing that the last 24 years of her life have been a lie of sorts. Her father was an art forger who cut a deal with the Feds to send a mob boss away. They had a different identity and a family that they left behind. The Witsec program kept them safe all these years, but now that her dad is dead someone is now after her for something they believe she has and she is forced to accept the presence of US Marshall Ethan Ryder in her life.
Olivia was taught by her father to be circumspect and to trust no one. She has her art gallery and her paintings which are her life especially now that her father is gone. Olivia doesn’t believe her father was still involved in art crime, but doesn’t want Ethan digging around anyway just because a whiff of scandal will harm her precious art gallery’s reputation. Olivia tries to play a cat and mouse game not only with the unknown person hounding her for her dad’s secrets, but also with Ethan. She wants to trust Ethan- oh she wants to.
Ethan has his own personal issues with a criminal father from his past so he’s not one to open up to others and his job makes him cynical of others. He gave up on any hope of a personal life because of the nature of his job that pulls him all over the place and keeps what he does shrouded in secrecy. He just lost a mentor and a witness and he knows his job is hanging by a thread. It tore him up to lose his witness and he loves his job so he plans to be by the book perfect when it comes to Olivia’s protection and hunting down those who are after her and why. No room to pursue the attraction he feels for Livvy, right?
The plot on this one was equal parts intrigue and romance. I enjoyed following the winding trail that led to the surprising truth and I loved watching the main characters open up and learn to trust each other. I did have a quibble over Olivia’s penchant for stupid actions that put herself in unnecessary danger though I sort of got it. Her mistrust of everyone forced her to sneak around. I also got annoyed with the two of them blowing hot/cold with each other. I just wanted to shout at them to just cross the line already instead of darting across and retreating. Ethan’s work ethics- which I do understand- got in his way and Olivia’s trust issues got in hers. I loved how everyone seemed to have their little secrets and there was no telling how each person’s secrets put the puzzle of the past together until the end.
Exciting story with pent up tension from the danger and the romance. Romantic suspense lovers should definitely give this one a try.