Suspicions (The Battling McGuire Boys) - Cynthia Eden

Series: Battling McGuire Boys (Book 3)

Mark Montgomery will never forget the night Ava McGuire galloped onto his ranch terrified out of her mind. Once he'd saved his best friend's sister from harm, the hardest part was letting her go. Now she's seeking safe haven again -- and rekindling desire that will engulf them both.

 

Uncovering the truth about that long-ago night plunges Ava into a world where no one can be trusted. Except maybe the rancher she has loved for years… But with a vengeful killer stalking them and passion drawing them inexorably closer, will Mark's secrets be their downfall…?

 

Excellent book with fantastic suspense. Six years earlier, Ava had seen her parents murdered and fled for safety to the neighbor's ranch. Mark was her brother's best friend and she'd always had a crush on him. But the memories of that night wouldn't allow her to stay, so she went away to school and stayed away. 

 

Now Ava has come back. She's decided it's time to take her life back, and one way is to help her brothers find out who killed their parents. Shortly before she left to come home, she started having problems with a stalker, one who appears to have followed her home. The first person she thought of to help her was Mark (because her brothers would over react) so she went to him. And now that she's no longer a teenager, she wants more than just protection from him.

 

Mark has been in love with Ava for years, but she's his best friend's little sister, so doing anything about it would be tricky. But when she comes to him for help, he can't tell her no. And he's no longer willing to ignore what he feels for her. 

 

I loved Ava. She survived a horrific experience, and has the scars and nightmares that don't let her forget. I liked the way that she had made the decision to face her fears and take control. One of the things I really liked about her is that she stood up to her brothers' overprotective attitudes. She also didn't let Mark shut her out. 

 

Mark was great. He was protective, but he also respected her. He had loved her for a long time, but waited to do anything about it. He's also not sure that he's good enough for her. He had been abused by his stepfather, and left home as soon as he could and joined the military, then became a mercenary. He's done things that he doesn't want her to know about. He's also kept some secrets about the deaths of her parents, all in the name of protecting her. 

 

I loved the heat between Mark and Ava. They'd both been burying it for too long, and the intensity of the situation they're in just makes it stronger. I enjoyed seeing how they both stood up to her brothers so that they could continue their relationship. As things intensified, there came a point where Mark's secrets had to be faced, and Ava had to decide what to do. Ava also had to face her own fears of losing those she loved, as the stalker got closer. I loved seeing how circumstances made them see that their love was more important than their fears.

 

I loved the closeness of the McGuire family. Even though the guys are perhaps a little too protective of Ava, it is obvious that they love her and want what is best for her. It was fun to see the stare downs between Mark and various brothers, especially Davis. I also like the support they have for each other. No one is ever left to face trouble alone.

 

The action and suspense of the story was great. It started from the beginning with the flashback and never let up. Each new attack was more intense. I liked the sections that showed the stalker's point of view. As the book progressed, two people became the most likely suspects. I constantly bounced back and forth between the two. It wasn't until the very end that I settled on one of them, but even then there was still some doubt in my mind. The final confrontation was really intense, with the stalker finally stopped. However, there are still questions to be answered about the deaths of the McGuire parents, leaving me anticipating the next book.