Mills and Boon Intrigue
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2008
From the back cover:
Six foot and spicy hot, Sheriff Daniel Galvez wasn't the kind of man women said no to. Unless you were Lauren Maxwell. Years ago, Daniel had worked a case that had destroyed her family...and her trust in men.
Now Lauren's come home, a trauma doctor, all cool-eyed and distant - and in need of a strong lawman to help her safeguard a battered teenage patient. Holed up together, Daniel swears to bridge the distance between them - even if it means having his own heart broken again."
Another library loan (I'm desperately trying to save my money for my holidays!!). I have only recently started reading the intrigue line, this is perhaps the 3rd book from that line I have read, and so far I have to say I'm impressed! I didn't think I would find the crime/danger element interesting, but I do and it's quite exciting.
The female character, Lauren, is the main physician in a small town, she is the daughter of the former mayor, who five years ago was discovered to have embezzled funds from the town as well as hiding the existence of a second family, committing suicide not long after. Lauren struggles with acceptance from the townsfolk, her loneliness and memories of an attack in her youth. The male character, Daniel, is the town Sheriff and son of Mexican immigrants. He built up the case against Lauren's father out of vengeance after his father died working on one of the building sites the mayor owned, he has struggled all his life with poverty and his desire for Lauren, both her and her seemingly perfect life. Working together they come across a runaway 15 year old Mexican girl, who was smuggled illegally into the U.S. with promises of a better life but was instead sold into child labour and sex trafficking, and brutally raped, leaving her pregnant and scared for her life. Lauren and Daniel shelter her at Lauren's home, while the FBI work to bring down to gang responsible before they find them. All the while Lauren and Daniel have to fight against their attraction to one another and deal with issues from the past that presents hurdles to their happiness.
I really liked this book, I found it interesting that the two main characters were not directly in danger, only indirectly by setting out to protect the young girl. The attraction between them is well developed and the emotional baggage they both have is used well, but not so much that it's all we read about. The story of Rosa, the young girl, was heart breaking, and for what is usually considered a light hearted genre, this was quite a hard hitting subject matter, which only serves to remind us that, unfortunately, this is something that does happen in the world. The ending, well it's pretty cheesy, but it's worth it!