All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Headed For Trouble by Shiloh Walker

on January 12, 2016

Headed For TroubleHeaded For Trouble (The McKays #1)
Shiloh Walker
St Martin’s Press
2015, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

SHE’S A SMALL-TOWN GIRL WITH BIG DREAMS.

Nine years ago, Neve McKay fled her small Southern town and disapproving family to seek a career in the big city. Now she’s finally coming home – and hoping for a fresh start. But the relationship that shattered her world still haunts her. And even among her nearest and dearest, she doesn’t feel safe.

CAN THIS BAD BOY BE THE ANSWER TO HER PRAYERS?

Ian Campbell is a pure Scottish muscle – as hard and handsome as they come. But when Neve walks into his bar, his heart melts . . . and he vows to have this gorgeous and somewhat vulnerable woman in his life – for better or for worse. What is Neve’s tragic secret? And how can Neve expect Ian to protect her, when doing so could put his own life at risk? The only thing Ian knows for sure is that he will do whatever it takes to keep her out of harm’s way – and in his loving arms.

Shiloh Walker has been on my radar for a couple of years now but I’ve never gotten around to reading one of her books so when I saw this on NetGalley I nabbed it without really knowing what to expect. Headed For Trouble is a surprisingly multi-layered romance with a troubled protagonist, a rather lovely hero and a dysfunctional family trying to find their way back to some sort of harmony and closeness.

Neve hasn’t been home in nearly ten years. For the last several, she’s been on the run, moving around living in shelters and cheap accommodation, running from something. Even though she’s had no contact with her family for quite a while, home is where she’s headed. She has no where else left to go, she needs help and she needs support. She just hopes that she’s going to get it from her estranged older siblings, Brannon and Moira. There’s a lot of complication going on in these familial relationships and Shiloh Walker does a masterful job not only taking the reader into Neve’s mind to live her experiences growing up without parents but to also show a little of the side of her siblings, charged with the care of a child when they were barely adults themselves.

When she rolls into town, Neve meets bar manager Ian Campbell, a Scottish ex-pat who works for Brannon and has no idea that Neve is his baby sister. The two of them have some sparks from the get go but as Neve’s dangerous situation begins to unfold, it’s clear Ian is becoming serious about Neve. She wants security with him too but her past makes her a flight risk, tending to bolt whenever things look like they might be getting too serious or too comfortable. As Neve’s horror story spills out, it is obvious why she feels this way and how it might take her time to learn to trust Ian, to realise that he is different. Before she can though, her past catches up with her and places not only her life but the lives of those she cares about in danger.

I really enjoyed the suspense element in this story – Neve was being hunted and although you knew that it was coming, there were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and the level of evilness was, in its own way, a surprise. What Neve is experiencing is for me, adds a good element of suspense to a book but for a lot of people it’s a sad and dangerous reality that seems to be more and more prevalent these days. I felt that Neve’s determination and strength came through but there was also very much a fragile vulnerability to her, a streak of fear that probably kept her one step ahead, kept her alive. She also knew when she was basically beaten and to head to where she hoped she could get protection and reinforcement.

This is the first in a series and I think the groundwork for the next installments was laid very well in this one. Brannon and Moira are both given page time and enough fleshing out here to really make their own books seem interesting – Moira in particular. I’m really keen to find out much more about her backstory with her former boyfriend and what really happened there. Brannon is a bit of a hothead who needs to chill out a bit but I’ll definitely read his book too and I’ll be curious to see if they take a suspenseful turn like this story or if they’ll be a little more straightforward romances.

Headed For Trouble is a smart, tightly paced story with genuine characters and a twisted scenario that is all too believable. It’s well written and takes the time to construct complicated family relationships as well as the small town setting. I’m looking forward to the next book to see what’s next for some of these characters as well as presumably, being able to catch up with Neve.

7/10

Book #208 of 2015

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