Purchase from Amazon: Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon)
Against the Storm by Kat Martin
Redheads like Maggie O’Connell are nothing but trouble. But Trace Rawlins, a former army ranger turned private investigator, takes the case anyway. After all, he knows a thing or two about women.
Trace can sense that something is wrong—Maggie isn’t telling him everything. If these menacing calls and messages are real, why won’t the police help her? And if they aren’t real, what is she hiding?
As Trace digs deeper to find the source of Maggie’s threats, he discovers a secret that no one was meant to uncover. And the only puzzle left to be solved is whether the danger comes from an unknown stalker…or from the woman he’s trying his hardest not to fall for.
Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon) is the fourth book in Kat Martin’s series. However, it can be read as a stand-alone. The story centers on Maggie O’Connell, a well-known photographer in Houston, TX. Recently, she has become the target of a stalker who leaves messages on her answering machine and car windshield, promising they will be together soon. She’s gone to the local police for help, but, because of a false accusation she made to police while in high school, they are reluctant to believe her story.
Maggie seeks out Trace Rawlins, former Army Ranger, now owner of his own Security company. Everyone knows that Trace has a weakness for redheads, but he painfully acknowledges that his prior relationships with them have only led to heartbreak. Unfortunately, Trace knows he’s in trouble as soon as he sees Maggie:
“His gaze ran over her, the smooth skin and stubborn jaw, the big green, troubled eyes, the red hair curling softly around her shoulders.”
His initial reaction is to turn her away, yet he feels compelled to help her. All he asks is that Maggie be completely honest in telling him about her past and current life. Honesty is extremely important to Trace since he now has trust issues because of his ex-wife.
However, Maggie has secrets that she doesn’t want revealed. She decides not to fully confide in Trace because of her embarrassment over certain past events. Besides, she justifies to herself, these secrets aren’t connected to the search for the stalker anyway, right? Wrong, her secrets are relevant to the investigation, and she underestimates Trace’s skills in discovering what she’s been hiding. When Trace discovers that Maggie has lied by omission, he angrily drops her as his client.
Of course, with the ongoing stalker drama, Maggie continues to turn to Trace for help. Not only is he one of the few who believes she is in danger, but Maggie cannot resist his charm and good looks:
“He grinned, a flash of white in a suntanned face so handsome it made her breath catch. An amazing face, she thought, with those hard, sculpted features and intense, whiskey-brown eyes, so warm and direct they sent a little quiver into her stomach.”
Their intense attraction for each other and sexual chemistry draw them closer together, leading to a sizzling romance that had me rooting for them
even with all of the angst involved.
Both characters have issues with commitment, they continuously deny their growing feelings for each other, and they expect the relationship to end once the mystery is solved. Furthermore, Maggie makes poor decisions against Trace’s advice that make her vulnerable to danger and cause ongoing frustration for Trace. Can they take their relationship further than sex? This is one of several established conflicts that build suspense in the search for the elusive stalker.
The search for the culprit is not as straightforward as expected. There are unpredictable twists to the plot that create a suspenseful, engaging story right up until its conclusion. And right when you think the story has reached its resolution, more of the unexpected happens.
As a Texas transplant, I appreciated Martin’s understanding and portrayal of the idiosyncrasies of Texan culture. Yep, Trace is most definitely a Texas cowboy. In addition, the supporting characters enhance the complexity of the story, and most of them are dynamic, rather than static, as sometimes found in other novels. The book is well-written and ties together all of the side stories by the end.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Click on this link to View the Book Trailer and an Excerpt from the Book
About Kat Martin
Joe Diffie: “Pick Up Man”
Maggie spends a lot of time in Galveston, TX, taking pictures of nature. She and Trace visit several times.
Glen Campbell: “Galveston”
Chicken Fried Steak (A Texas Staple)
Click on the link below to watch a video on how to make chicken-fried steak with a creamy pan gravy: From All Recipes.com