Reviewed by Helyce
Alex and Raegan McClane experienced every parent’s worse nightmare when their daughter, Emma, was kidnapped three years ago. Alex had taken Emma to the park, looked away for only a moment and then she was gone. Though Raegan never blamed Alex, he couldn’t forgive himself and instead chose to drown himself in alcohol. Raegan couldn’t help him, and the marriage that had once been so full of love, couldn’t survive the aftermath of such tremendous loss. They divorced and went their separate ways.
Now three years later, Alex and Raegan are called to the hospital after a young girl fitting Emma’s description is found wandering in the park. But the child is not Emma and Alex and Raegan have to suffer through their loss again. Alex has always believed, with every fiber of his being, that his daughter is dead. But not Raegan, she knows her daughter is out there and she’ll do anything and everything in her power to find her.
When Raegan starts to dig into other child abductions, she finds similarities that cannot just be a coincidence. When she brings the facts to Alex, he balks, not wanting to believe her. He lost hope a long time ago and his sobriety is a fragile thing. But when his past comes back to haunt him he has no choice but to look at the facts. He can’t do it alone, though, and Raegan is there with the love and support that he needs.
I have not read a romantic suspense in a long time and I’d kind of forgotten how much I love them. Part of the fun is trying to figure out the mystery and Ms. Naughton does a good job of twisting all the hints and facts in just the right way. Just when you think you’ve connected all the dots, she throws a huge surprise into the mix that makes you jump up and cheer…even though you did not see it coming!
Alex is a recovering alcoholic and though he’s been sober for a while, his control seems easily shaken. When he sees Raegan for the first time in long while at the hospital and all their hopes are dashed, all those old feelings comes back. Their marriage didn’t end because they didn’t love each other, they grew apart because Alex blamed himself and couldn’t forgive himself. He believed that his biological father was responsible for Emma’s abduction and he believed that his father would think nothing of killing Alex’s daughter as an act of revenge because Alex’s testimony put his father in jail all those years ago. There is so much hatred between father and son expressed that even the reader begins to believe that the man was capable of killing his own granddaughter.
Raegan, on the other hand, believes that her daughter is alive. She feels that if Emma had actually been killed, she would feel it and know in her heart that she was gone. She grabs on and holds on to the hope that she will be found one day. And when her boss gives her the go-ahead to look into other abductions that bear similarities to see if there is a story there, she dives in and soon finds some irrefutable evidence. Of course, the deeper she digs, the more dangerous it becomes, but she’s not scared off easily. Once Raegan puts certain key facts together she goes to Alex with her evidence and he realizes that he really can’t ignore what she has found.
I really enjoyed Alex and Raegan’s journey in this story. So much hurt, so much loss and still their love for each other was there just under the surface, waiting for the right time when they were both able to embrace it once again. It was almost as if Alex had to go through everything he did following Emma’s abduction, hitting rock bottom and even putting Raegan and his family through all of that-it had to happen so that he could dig his way back up. He had to feel that, and come back from it in his own time and in his own way. And though it hurt the people he loved the most, it was what he had to do in order to forgive himself. Raegan never blamed him, and though she couldn’t stand by him when he was at his lowest, she never stopped loving him.
Naughton gives us a gripping tale filled with deceit, misunderstandings and treachery. She weaves it tightly so that on the surface it appears to be a revenge plot in all it’s simplicity–but it is so, so much more. I was completely pulled in and was so sure that I had the answer to who was responsible. And when all is revealed, you get more than you could have imagined.
A fast paced read with a second chance at love and surprising twist that you don’t see coming.