Hotshot (Buchanan-Renard #11)
Penguin Books Aus
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Peyton and her two sisters have inherited the resort Bishop’s Cove from their uncle, who has given them a challenge. They have a year to make a 20% profit and the resort is theirs, free and clear to do whatever they want with. If they don’t meet his terms, he takes it back and sells it himself. Peyton, a chef and her sister Lucy, an interior designer are looking forward to the challenge, sure they can make it work. Their other sister is sitting her final college exams and won’t be arriving to take her part until after all of that.
Things haven’t been going so well for Peyton. A dream job that seemed too good to be true turned out to be just that and she left after a month, fleeing with a recording that could possibly do a lot of damage. She’d been warned that her former boss might come after her in order to protect the company’s flawless reputation but when she finds bullet holes in her car, she didn’t realise it would be that bad. She enlists the help of her childhood next door neighbour Finn to keep her safe until she can get the result that she wants from the recording.
Finn saved Peyton’s life once when she was just four years old. Now an agent with the FBI, he’s infinitely more equipped and prepared to do so yet again in the dangerous situation she finds herself in. Finn and Peyton haven’t seen each other for many years – in fact when Finn first sees Peyton he doesn’t even recognise her. Now he drops everything to investigate what is going on, following her down to Bishop’s Cove to help keep her safe. However he wasn’t expecting to have feelings for her. Finn has dark experiences with his job and he doesn’t believe he’s the sort of person that should be involved in a serious relationship. However, Peyton puts it another way and he finds himself more than tempted, especially when it becomes clear that her former boss isn’t just trying to scare her, he means to carry through with his threat. Now Finn has to save her life again and win her heart.
Although this is the 11th in a series, it’s one where the books are only very loosely linked, revolving around various people that work for the FBI or other security-type organisations. I’ve only read one novel before this one, Sweet Talk which was published last year. Julie Garwood is a well respected name in romantic suspense novels and I’m pleased to say that this one well lives up to her reputation.
When Finn was 14 and Petyon 5, he saw the little girl slip into her family’s pool, unseen. An incredibly talented swimmer and a certified lifeguard (albeit too young to be employed), Finn wasted no time barreling through the house next door to the pool to pull her out and revive her. And every year thereafter, Peyton has written a card or as times advanced, an email, to thank her rescuer. Sometimes he responded, mostly he didn’t. Having competed at the Olympics and then completed a law degree and joined the FBI it’s been some time since Finn and Peyton have seen each other when they cross paths at one of Finn’s brother’s wedding. He’s surprised by just how well Peyton has grown up and she realises after their first brief meeting that Finn is an attorney and she desperately needs some advice from someone qualified.
Now that they’re both adults, the mutual attraction takes Finn by storm. Although Peyton has always admired her rescuer and even worshiped him a little, she’s also stunned by the desire that swells between them and just how safe she feels in his presence with the threat on her safety. Peyton wants to do the right thing and make sure that her former boss can’t do this to anyone else, people who are young and vulnerable, trapped in an isolated location with no form of escape. She sits quietly, determined to wait and be patient to get the opportunity to go to the right person to get results – but while she’s trying to organise that, her former boss and his associates are trying to silence her permanently and she needs Finn and his skills more than ever. She and her sister are busy trying to get their new venture up and running and they’re dealing with various types of sabotage there, from another local investor and possibly even someone closer to home. She needs to be talking to contractors, dealing with renovations and coming up with new ideas to draw people once they reopen and she doesn’t have time to hide away. The best thing is for Finn to accompany her everywhere, which keeps the chemistry sizzling between them.
Finn is determined not to enter anything serious because of his job and I see his point. He’s an interrogator, used to extract confessions and although he’s never undercover, he sees and hears some bleak things and he doesn’t think he makes great husband material. I see his point because I think it’d be very difficult to be married to someone in his job, especially when many things he sees and hears he’ll need to keep bottled up. But I think Peyton also makes an excellent argument that he needs a happy, safe environment at home, to take the stress from his job away. Watching them argue this was great, because they both had good points and they both obviously wanted each other and I knew it was going to be fun watching Finn end up capitulating.
This one was a very well rounded story – great suspense and characters who were wanting to do the right thing that you could really get behind and some excellent chemistry and a great dynamic between the two main characters. It’s made me want to go back and read some of the earlier books.
Book #194 of 2013