ESCAPE TO YOU – Jennifer Ryan
Montana Heat Series , Book 2
Print ISBN: 978-0-06-264525-8
Digital ISBN: 978-0-06-26526-3
Hope Ranch, Montana – The Present
Famous actress Ashley Swan disappeared almost a year ago. She is held by an insane man, someone she considered a friend, talk show host Brice Mooney. He believes he can beat and torture Ashley into becoming Aurora, one of the parts she played. One night opportunity arises and Ashley takes it. She also takes the young boy, Adam, a child trapped and abused on this ranch. They run away into the freezing, snowstorm-filled night.
DEA Agent Beck Cooke finds a boy in his barn and follows the child to where an unconscious woman lies in the snow on his land. He recognizes her: the missing actress Ashley Swan. He picks her up and carries her to his house, where he has hidden while healing from both physical and psychological wounds inflicted during his last assignment. He hid, too, from Iceman, a drug kingpin who wants him dead. He has not been able to return to being Beck, but remains in the persona of his undercover identity ‘Trigger.' The plight of his two rescued visitors strikes a protective cord within him. He puts Ashley in his bed and tries to draw the frightened child out of his defensive withdrawal and silence. Food helps. Both the boy and Ashley look starved. Later he calls for aid from his brother and his fiancée. They promise to come when they can travel the snow-covered roads.
This is a strange love story, not that the heroine and hero are not attracted to one another, they are; but because of their respective stories and how each helps save the other's sanity. In doing so, they save Adam, too. There are many twists and turns, some very dangerous, as Brice tries to find and reclaim control over Ashley. I must warn readers this story has some very descriptive violence. It also contains hope, not just as the ranch name suggests but the transformative type. Hard reading at times, but well worthwhile.