This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I had several reasons for wanting to read this one among them was this was a new to me author to explore, it was set along the coast of Northern Maine, and because the blurb led me to believe that I would get a wonderful Hitchcock-style Romantic Suspense. And this one certainly delivered when all is said and done.
Blake Cartwright makes the first spontaneous decision of her life to quit practicing law in NYC and buy a property in Northern Maine with a lighthouse and the keeper’s house to turn into an inn. When she arrives in the small town up near the Canadian border and gets a good look at what she bought from pics on the internet, she feels almost defeated by the dilapidated state it is in. She doesn’t have much time to wallow because she suddenly realizes that she is not alone in the old house. After a bit of fright, she meets Declan Hunter who is more than he seems, but she agrees to hire him as a handyman to help her fix up the place.
At one of the local coffee shops, she encounters several colorful local residents and the large amount of tension they project. At least things won’t be dull. In the night, she is spooked by the sound of a baby’s cry and a light up in the lighthouse that cannot be since the light was removed years before. By the light of day, no one believes her particularly the hostile local sheriff. Next she sees a body fall from the lighthouse, but this isn’t believed either because everyone just thinks she’s winding herself up on the local ghost story of a long ago keeper’s wife who killed herself. Strange things continue to occur including the death of one of the local girls. Now she’s implicated in the girls death. Through all this, she and Declan have blown hot and cold with each other both trying as hard as possible first to deny the attraction and then go into protect mode with their hearts.
Declan was indeed more than he seemed. He sees the arrival of Blake as a complication in more ways than one. Her presence makes it harder for him to investigate his current case and catch the very wily criminal that has been eluding him. Not only does her presence make his investigation more difficult because he has to pussyfoot around her to search things out, but he can’t keep his mind on his work. It gets worse when the villain steps things up leaving a dead body and a dangerous threat to Blake’s life. For the first time, Declan wants to involve himself with a woman, but they have to get out of this alive first.
This was a lovely twisty and suspenseful mystery and a slow to burn yet passionate romance. I loved that it was set in a small town atmosphere and I enjoyed the added tie-in to the past basically offering up two mysteries for the price of one. I enjoyed both characters as narrators and their growing relationship as they worked at the crime from two different ends. A few times, I thought Blake’s cranky and defensive attitude was unwarranted and her avoidance tactics caused some grief, but these were mild niggles and didn’t bar my enjoyment of the story on the whole. Declan and Blake set off sparks when they were together whether it was to team up on the case, argue or even to explore their passionate sides.
The end was quite thrilling and worth all the slow build-up. I was grateful for the epilogue to tie things up and answer any lingering questions too.
In the end, this was a great read that I recommend to Romantic Suspense lovers.