Capturing the Huntsman (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) - C.J. Miller

A killer stalks hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Who will be the next victim?

 

The woods had always been Autumn Reed's sanctuary. But discovering the latest victim of "The Huntsman" near her campgrounds made her afraid. When FBI agent Nathan Bradshaw rented one of her cabins, she was relieved not to be alone...despite the fierce attraction between them. A lifetime of betrayals had made Autumn wary.

 

Nathan won't allow his growing feelings for Autumn to distract him. The Huntsman killed his sister, and catching him is a sacred mission. But with Autumn fitting the profile for the Huntsman's victims, Nathan's torn between a need to protect her and to use her. The idea of losing her is turning him into a desperate man...

 

Good book that started with a bang and never really let up. Autumn owns and runs a campground near the Appalachian Trail. Her business is suffering because there has been a serial killer along the trail for several weeks. While out in the woods with her dog, Autumn discovered another victim, putting her right in the middle of the investigation.

 

Nathan is an FBI agent who shows up shortly after the body is found. He is not part of the team officially investigating, as  he is too close to it. His sister was one of the early victims of the killer and he is determined to find him. When he meets Autumn he sees that she matches the killer's profile and is equally determined to keep her safe. He rents one of her cabins, which keeps him close to her and to the investigation.

 

There is a definite attraction between Autumn and Nathan, but neither one is completely comfortable with it. Nathan doesn't want Autumn to distract him from his mission, and it becomes far too easy for him to think of her first. He also has a failed marriage in his past that makes him reluctant to get involved again. Autumn has spent most of her life protecting her heart. Her mother abandoned Autumn and her brother and father, her uncle walked off and left the family later, and her father died recently. Even the man she had been engaged to cheated on her with another. She's wary of the way that Nathan makes her feel, but she's also glad that he's there. When Autumn's brother is suspected of being the killer, she becomes as emotionally invested in finding the killer as he is. As they work together the stresses of the situation increase the intensity of the feelings growing between them. But telling each other how they feel is something that is going to take something big to break through the walls they have protecting their hearts.

 

The suspense of the story was very good and the scenario was quite believable. I found the interactions between Nathan and Ford to be very interesting. They are both after the same thing but have different attitudes about how to get there. The personal connection between them adds to the tension. As far as the killer goes, I was definitely creeped out by his methods, and then by his intrusion at the campground itself. Autumn's insistence about her brother's innocence made me fairly certain of it, but there were enough questions to throw some doubt. As more information was discovered, the culprit came closer to being identified. The question was if they could find him before he struck again. The ending was quite intense, and the final confrontation was an edge of my seat read until it was all over.