Series: Marshland Justice (Book 1)
He was looking for a missing person. What he found was a beautiful stranger.
Looking for a fresh start, detective Jake Young headed south on a case that could help launch his PI business. He knew no amount of work would make him forget his tortured past, but maybe Faye Star could help. Caught up in Jake's missing persons case, the distracting Faye was hiding a secret he was begging to find out. Expertly guiding him through the swamps, Jake's job grew more complicated when someone started taking shots at the free-spirited beauty. As much as she protested she could take care of herself, Jake stepped in, refusing to admit how desperately he needed someone to save. Especially since he'd never be able to save himself…
Good book with lots of action, a bit of romance, and a couple of interesting twists. Jake has left his job as a cop to become a private investigator. His first case involves finding a man who is missing in the Everglades. When he finds the man's car, but not the man, he also encounters beautiful Faye Star, who also appears to be looking for the same man. They join forces, but it's soon apparent that there is more to the story than Jake knew.
I loved the first meeting between Jake and Faye. He is definitely a city guy and really skittish in the swamp areas. His reaction when Faye starts shooting is priceless. He doesn't come out on top in that encounter, but when he realizes that she's looking for the same man he is, he's determined to find her again. I loved the way he did it, and then convinced her to help him. One problem that he didn't foresee was the attraction that flares between the two of them.
Jake tries hard to resist the attraction because there are things about him and his mission there that she doesn't know. He's sure that once she finds out, she'll be too mad at him to want anything more to do with him. Faye is just as attracted to him and quite willing to pursue it. She senses that he's a good man, and feels a bit guilty about some of the things she hasn't told him. As they join forces for the search the secrets weigh on them, but they can't help getting closer. I loved seeing their differing outlooks adapt and adjust. Jake is a practical and logical man, and tends to look askance at her "woo-woo science", but can't deny its effectiveness when it's needed. Faye is more trusting and emotional, but very happy to have Jake's protection when things start to go bad. When their secrets are exposed, both of them have to decide what it means to their futures. I loved seeing Jake's "aha" moment, and what he did to show Faye how he felt. What she did in return was a great way to circle their relationship back to its beginning.
The suspense of the story was very good and kept me hooked. I had a feeling from the start that there was more to the story than was initially apparent. The search for the missing man was terrific, and I loved all the bits about life in the Everglades. What happened when they found him was partially expected, but other parts were a surprise. I felt a bit better about Faye when she came back for Jake, but there were still a lot of unanswered questions. As Jake pursued those answers, and Faye, a second twist in the story made its presence known. This one wasn't a complete surprise, but it added to the intensity of what Jake and Faye needed to do. Fighting the swamp and the bad guys as they tried to get to safety kept the stress level high. The final confrontation was really intense, especially once the alligators got involved. There were still some loose ends to wrap up, some of them involving Faye. I was a bit disappointed in Jake's actions there, but he made up for it in the end.