Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. #1) by Jerrie Alexander
A woman in danger. A man she loves but can’t trust.
When ex-SEAL Nate Wolfe learns a woman from his past is in danger, nothing will stop him from protecting her. Not even her.
Dallas Child Protection Services Investigator Kay Taylor doesn’t want or need Nate in her life. But he doesn’t seem to understand the word no. He seems to also have forgotten the brand he left on her heart.
When Kay is taken and sold to a monster, the devil himself couldn’t stop Nate from doing whatever it takes to find her…but will he be in time?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
“Nate,” she whispered into his neck. “You saved me.” Her flesh heated when his large hands flexed against the small of her back and drew her closer.”
“Come hell or high water,” he whispered, his warm breath sending heat streaks across her skin.”
Hell or High Water is a great start to a romantic suspense series involving a close-knit college group called Wolfe’s Pack who reunite ten years later, when one of their beloved members, Kaycie (Kay) Tayor becomes the target of a human trafficking operation.
Alexander has established a solid framework for the series by starting out with plot that is well-written and creating dynamic characters that make you want to get to know them better. I like that the author gradually introduces you to the main characters who will play an integral role in the series without overwhelming you with too much information. She establishes the relationships among the characters, provides just enough exposition about their individual situations as a set up future storylines, and gives them enough personality for you to connect with and emotionally begin to invest in their well-being and futures.
The story launches right into the middle of a dramatic situation with Kay, an investigator for Dallas Child Protective Services, trying to escape her kidnappers. The lead-in creates interest and excitement; after all, it’s hard to put down a book when the character is in immediate danger! For me this first intense scene was over much faster than I expected, and it was a bit anticlimactic. However, Alexander more than makes up for any disappointment I may have had with this initial scene in the latter part of the book when she ratchets up the stakes heightening and prolonging the intense, suspenseful situations to the point I became edgy – as in biting my nails, holding my breath, wondering how much more I can take until the story’s resolution.
And I loved every minute of the heart pounding action that takes place.
Kay is an amazingly strong heroine, and, even with her law enforcement training, I still admired how she kept herself together in the bleakest of situations. I can say the exact same thing for Kay’s best friend, Holly. Both of them are fighters, both emotionally and physically against those who mean them harm. Not only is Kay in physical danger, but her heart is as well when her former college love, Nate Wolfe, enters the picture determined to protect her no matter how much she protests.
Nate has recently returned to Dallas as a PI and is building a company specializing in providing security. He’s knows he broke Kay’s heart ten years ago, and he doesn’t have any intention of trying to reenter Kay’s life until their mutual friend, Tyrell, calls to warn him about Kay’s situation. Kay is very angry and bitter toward Nate, and I wanted to know exactly what happened that tore them apart because it becomes clear early on they had so much more than a casual fling. The details of their past are gradually revealed as they struggle with their unresolved feelings for one another. The chemistry, the sexual tension is definitely still between them.
The major question is whether they can overcome the hurt from mistakes made long ago.
At first, I thought Kay was over-reacting once the reason for going their separate ways is revealed,
but after I learned about about Kay’s personal family pain and suffering, I began to understand why she thinks Nate betrayed her. She immediately lets Nate know how she feels when he surprises her at home: “Get over yourself.” Her tone matched the hate in her eyes. “You really think I care enough about you to shoot you?”
Fortunately, Nate refuses to let Kay’s behavior deter him, and he lets her know he won’t be cast aside so easily: “I want you. More than I want to breathe. Just know I won’t stop trying.”
He’s changed over the years, and he’s no longer afraid of love. I really appreciate Nate’s persistence and his willingness to take any opening Kay’s will provide: “He leaned down and grazed her lips with his. It was brief and she didn’t kiss him back, but then she didn’t bite him. All in all, he figured that was a good sign.”
Although both Kay and Nate want to be together, both of them are reluctant to express their feelings so directly, and there were so many times when I just wanted to say to them:
In so many books, the bad guys are exactly as they are meant to be portrayed. Bad. Guys. Yet, I was drawn to Johnny Darling, one of the central antagonists who’s part of the vile human trafficking operation that Kay stumbles upon. Johnny is not a nice man, and he can be counted upon to follow his boss’s orders without question. His loyalty to this man who took him off the streets and gave him a job outweighs any moral hang-ups he may have about performing his duties. Yet, Johnny’s POV reveals a complicated man with a conscience, who seems to believe that the young women he helps to kidnap are sold for purposes other than sex, at least that’s what he tells himself, anyway. I just find it hard to believe that someone with his intellect and who is closely involved in the operation can really be this naive. Let me just say there is much more to Johnny than the one dimensional flat character you might expect, and he has the potential for redemption.
Overall, this is a great read from start to finish. The plot is engaging, the central characters are well-rounded, and the romance sizzles! If you enjoy romantic suspense, then I encourage you to check out this series. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
Rating 4.5 shining suns
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Music to Complement the Book
T. Graham Brown “Hell & High Water”
When Kay appears wearing a faded George Strait T-Shirt –I definitely knew she was my kind of gal!
George Strait “True”