Reilly O’Neill has been in hiding, on the run, for years now; it’s a way of life for the ex-cop who helped put a powerful criminal behind bars. But he can’t resist seeing the only woman he’s ever loved again. He misses Mandy Edwards in a way he’s never missed anyone before. But will his return to her endanger her?
There’s a lot going on in this book–chases, bad guys hunting good guys, good guys hunting bad guys, one guy we’re not too sure about either way, gun battles…and steamy, steamy chemistry between our protagonists. They were lovers, before he had to fake his death in a car fire and disappear again a year ago…but now, he’s back.
Mandy has been lonely without the man she loved, and when this familiar man shows back up, with a very confusing story about not being a carpenter after all…and the night he shows up, her home, where four generations of her family has lived, is torched and burns to the ground…it’s a lot to take in.
I really, really enjoyed this story. There’s a lot of suspense and action going on, which may not appeal to all readers–indeed, it’s not something I normally go for–but it’s balanced well with some fantastic love scenes, and the internal dialog of Reilly and Mandy is thoroughly believable; these are people like us, who’ve been flung into an unusual situation, and Reilly in particular is competent to do what needs to be done. He’s a little bit condescending and overprotective of Mandy at first, but she soon proves her competence as well, and he respects and loves her all the more for it.
Mandy, for her part, has a secret that she’s keeping from Reilly–and from us, for a while–and when that comes to light, it causes a bit of a tectonic shift in the relationship, as it explains why she’s been acting so strangely since his reappearance.
I don’t want to give away the mystery too much, but there is a person we suspect is a double-agent right up to the end–finding out the truth helps us finish out the book nice and tidily. The supporting cast overall is fleshed out just enough to make them function well in the story, including our very-nasty villain.
This is a fantastically well-crafted story, with action that moves things along smartly throughout, never letting up for a moment. We have believable people, and locations that are richly described enough for us to feel right at home in the tale. There is a lot going on for such a short book, but Autin neatly and economically gives us the whole story. If you like suspenseful romances, Reilly’s Return should be on your list! It’s a solid read.