Cherry Lake’s official photographer has a problem. The boudoir photos Carrie Logan used to do, long ago and far away, have come back to haunt her. So she turns to Ethan Nash, the mysteriously gorgeous guy with big dogs and a bad attitude, for help containing this secret and the scandal it will cause.
Ethan takes one look at the photo of young Carrie and his harsh cyber-security specialist exterior begins to melt. For some reason, he feels the need to help this beautiful photographer. He’s pretty sure she’s stuck– once something’s on the internet, it’s there forever- but he offers her his assistance anyway. There’s something about her he finds irresistible…
What Ethan doesn’t realize is that he might need Carrie’s help far more than she needs his… Will she prove to be the one he needs?
Source: Review copy from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
This one is a tricky review for me, because although I enjoyed the book and really liked the characters, I had a few problems with the plot – there was too much of it.
I liked Carrie and the way she handles herself throughout this book, especially given the reactions she gets. In fact I felt rather let down by Cherry Lake’s judgmental attitude in this story, particularly Carrie’s family. In the two previous books I’ve come to like the Jackson clan, especially Grandfather Nate, but here the whole lot of them can take a jump in the lake for all I care – particularly Nate. What a disappointment he was, especially considering how supportive he was to Jess, his other granddaughter, in the last book.
The only upside for Carrie is Ethan. I liked him too, with his rescue animals and his well-trained dogs, but then the plot intrigues just kept coming with him. First there are the horses on his property – which I thought would become something, and doesn’t. Then there are the dogs, which become an issue with public opinion as well as an injury (and again didn’t really go anywhere). There’s also the petty vendetta of the mayor – which sort of meanders along and doesn’t really go anywhere. We also have his mysterious past, which seems dark and worrying, but again – you guessed it – doesn’t really go anywhere. Oh, it comes up, but it’s explained away in two sentences – which in my book is not an explanation!
Also the romance isn’t much of a romance. They strike up a cute friendship, then Ethan spends the vast majority of the book avoiding Carrie for no good reason, and then it ends. As for the whole cyberattack itself… I thought that was going somewhere in particular, as certain comments seemed to infer, but again, I was left disappointed by a whole lack of anything. In fact that’s the problem with the book, it’s great at setting things up and making them interesting, it just doesn’t follow through on any of them, and just when the romance seems to be going somewhere, suddenly the whole thing is over.
So it promises much and delivers little, except for some good characters that I liked a lot and more quality time with Aunt Pan. It also clashed quite a bit with events in the previous book (Her Secret Love) since Jess was supposed to be living with Carrie in that book and she definitely isn’t in this one – which is happening concurrently. I know they have separate authors, but surely someone should have been checking for continuity.
In all an okay continuation. I just wish it had been maybe a little longer or a lot less busy. Here’s hoping that in the next Cherry Lake book the town can redeem itself too – especially Grandfather Nate.
Her Secret Protector is Out Now!
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