Give Him the Slip - Geralyn Dawson

Series: Holy Terrors (Book 1)

She's a woman on the run.

Maddie Kincaid thought she'd left trouble behind when she settled in peaceful Brazos Bend. She started her own business. She lived the simple life. She never dreamed that helping a gentle old man would land her in the middle of murder -- her own. Now she's running for her life, right into the arms of the infamous Luke "Sin" Callahan.

 

He does his best work undercover.

Luke Callahan has just settled into his much-needed fishing vacation, and the last thing he needs on his line is a long-legged redhead stowaway with secrets in her heart and killers on her trail. Lucky for her, he's deadlier than the guys who are chasing her. Unfortunately for him, she's gorgeous, smart and determined to make it on her own. When the secrets start spilling and the nights heat up, Luke realizes he faces a new sort of danger--losing the woman he loves. Can he win the battle for her heart? Or will she give him the slip?

 

Very good story. Maddie runs a business helping senior citizens, and on one of her jobs comes across some drug related mushrooms. Fearing the consequences, she takes off, and is sent looking for help by another one of her clients. She ends up with ex-DEA agent Luke Callahan, who really wants to leave it all behind and go fishing. Much as he wants to, he can't just walk away from a woman in distress.

 

I liked Maddie and Luke. They have a magnetic relationship that both pulls them together and pushes them apart. Maddie is the only child of a pair of rock stars. She hated the lifestyle she grew up in, and only wanted a chance to put down roots and have a normal life. She has found that life in Brazos Bend. She has also sworn off relationships for awhile, having been burned by three separate bad ones. She is attracted to Luke immediately, but resistant about getting involved. She's also independent and sassy and doesn't just give in to Luke's directives. 

 

Luke is a man who is at a crossroads in his life. He and his brothers had been real hell raisers when they were younger. After an event that could have been tragic, their father threw them out to make their own ways in the world. Luke ended up becoming a DEA agent, but after the recent death of his partner, for which he blamed himself, he has quit his job. When Maddie first appears on his boat, he thinks her appearance is an attempt by his father to get him back home. Once he realizes she's really in trouble, he's willing to help to a certain point. He's really attracted to her, and wants some time with her, but her connection to his hometown is a sticking point.

 

Their initial meeting on the boat was funny and intense. There was a lot of mistrust on both sides that they had to work through. It was interesting to see Luke try to forget her once they dealt with the mushrooms, and how he just couldn't get her off his mind. I loved seeing him show up just in time to help her, and realize that there is more going on than just the mushrooms. His protective instincts kick in and clash with her independence, and the heat between them continues to build. As they're thrown together to keep her safe and try to get to the bottom of who is after her, they are given the chance to get to know each other better. Maddie discovers that there is a romantic and sensitive man inside the tough guy that Luke shows to the rest of the world. She tries hard not to fall for that man, but it's a losing battle. Her heart wants to believe that they have a future, but her head knows that he'll never be able to settle down with her. At the same time, Luke finds himself with feelings for Maddie that he's never had for anyone else. He can't admit to them, and when something happens to Maddie he feels it is his fault and just another reason for him to leave her alone. I loved the ending and how Maddie stood up for what she wanted. I really liked seeing her make Luke face his fear.

 

Luke's issues with his father are a huge part of who  he has become and his reluctance to return to Brazos Bend. As the book went on and more was revealed about their relationship, it got really complicated. I could see the issue from both sides and it's one that isn't an easy fix. Maddie is caught in the middle and tries to bring them together. 

 

The mystery/suspense was really good. It was interesting to see the progression of the mystery as it led past the mushrooms and into something more involved. I also liked seeing the effect Luke's involvement had on various people in Brazos Bend. I really loved the conversation between him and his high school friends and his surprise at what they had to say. As the investigation went on, the danger to Maddie increased. The final confrontation was intense, and I was surprised by who was behind the trouble. I liked having Luke's brothers involved, and look forward to reading their stories.