(U.S. link: The Heart Has Reasons )
Published: September, 2012, Bluegrass Publishing
Larissa Santos has done everything to be better prepared than she was two years ago, when she was attacked in her own bedroom, but only managed to injure Brian Sparrow, before he escaped. Since then, she has put her life back together with a good job and great friends, she has studied martial arts and upgraded her fire arm. But none of this helps her when she finds herself drugged and shackled in the back of a van.
When Chase O'Malley returned to Southern California to report back to his client that he had found his wife, Larissa's location, he thought that would be the end of that job. But Hank Keswick surprised Chase by offering him a large sum of money to kidnap his wife and escort her back from Charleston. Keswick claims she bailed on him and their kids, when he messed up and won't let him make it right. After leaving the Special Forces, and missing the excitement of a new 'mission', Chase convinces himself to take the job.
What Chase doesn't realize is that Larissa's so-called 'husband' is in fact Brian Sparrow, her attacker she shot and injured two years ago. Larissa quickly realizes that the man ultimately responsible for her kidnapping must be Sparrow. She had always feared he would be back to finish what he had started, especially since she had hurt him.
This man in the ski mask, driving the van, doesn't feel like a threat, but he will not believe her when she tries to tell him who he is working for. So she continues to fight and plot to get free, while Chase is doing his best to keep his charge under some control without doing her any harm.
While the two travel from one end of the country to the other, a powerful draw between Larissa and Chase only seems to be intensified by the constant hostilities, and the sexual tension is thick enough to cut. Although there are times where Chase's resolve falters when it comes to the righteousness of his objective, he is determined to see his 'mission' through, while Larissa goes frantic trying to convince him she is headed for a certain death.
In the end, it is Chase's trust in his instincts that save Larissa, and it is Larissa's persistent nature that saves Chase in return.
A very clever and fascinating story!!
I obviously enjoyed the plot line, the twists and turns the story took. I loved the fact that the HEA wasn't made too easy and that Ms. Marchand didn't cop out of the 'aftermath' by looking for a quick and miraculous resolution. That was courageous and in my opinion, what made this book stand out.
The overall tone was fairly dark......not a bad thing......especially since it ended lighter. First showing some of the darker edges of humanity, the sharp edged boundaries we sometimes straddle (like Chase), and then slowly fading the darkest edges to muted greys.....by Larissa and last, but in this story most importantly, FBI Special Agent Jarvis.
The pacing of the book was not entirely even, so that some parts felt a little more rushed than others, but merely enough for me to make note of it.
I also found the classification "Suspense and Erotic Romance" a bit misleading..........I don't think the story would qualify as erotic.......sexually charged, absolutely....but sex just doesn't have enough of a role in this story (plus there really is not a lot of it) to give the book that label.
That is not to say, that the sex scenes aren't hot.......because they are!!
Ms. Marchand writes a fantastic story forcing us to be perpetrator, investigator and victim, all at the same time, and still be able to find a common ground.
An intriguing and intelligent novel.