In the midst of organized crime and dim hopes of redemption, can love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a naval officer who sacrificed himself to protect his uncle, finding that love seems unlikely.
As they start their lives over in Chicago, both fight family influences and run as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside their parole officer’s door, attraction sparks. Too bad a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.
When Sophie Taylor sat down and wrote her life to-do list, nowhere on that list were the words, “Fall in love with a criminal, be duped by said criminal, go to prison when said criminal flees.” No, those things most assuredly were not on her list. Unfortunately, fate has a wicked sense of humor which is how Sophie Taylor, once a promising and gifted psychologist, has found herself sitting outside her new parole officer’s office.
Grant Madsen’s life was meant to be spent in the service of his country. The Navy was a means by which Grant could honor his beloved uncle and get the hell away from the other members of his mobbed-up family. With every fiber of his being, Grant wanted a productive and happy life, but his family, except for his uncle, are slimy and vengeful and not above blackmail which is how Grant has now found himself sitting outside his new parole officer’s office.
Reason and logic both dictate that two parolees should not ever enter into any sort of relationship. Like fate, the heart has a wicked sense of humor and both Sophie and Grant’s hearts are telling them to be together. Justifiably, both are scared, embarrassed by their past, and beyond tentative, but their connection is real and their friendship blossoms quickly. The adjustment to life after prison and future’s that were once so certain now murky and unsure are made easier by the presence of the other. Grant’s strength and care bolster Sophie and Sophie’s confidence and care reinforces Grant’s burgeoning belief in himself. As long as they stick together, the future can be managed and even be happy.
Remember fate? That fickle bitch I mentioned above? As if prison and being on parole weren’t bad enough, both Grant and Sophie’s pasts keep cropping up to try and hurt them yet again. Grant’s family isn’t done with him and want him back in the criminal fold and Sophie’s father and his feelings toward her are a constant reminder of her failure. What neither Grant nor Sophie suspect, even for a moment, is that their respective pasts actually include some of the same treacherous people, people who are still more than willing to destroy lives in order to get what they want. Grant and Sophie aren’t just risking their hearts, but their freedom and their lives. Parole has never been so damn hard!
The Bottom Line: I didn’t read my original review of this book until after I finished this new, updated edition. I wanted to give this version a fair shake and then compare notes when I finished. Here’s what I discovered: I still really love this book and one of the big issues I had with the first edition has been resolved in this new edition. Grant has become an emotionally stronger man and a lot of the angst he had in the first edition is gone from this one. Don’t get me wrong, Grant still has his weepy and worry-filled moments, but they are fewer and further between now which makes him an overall stronger character. Sophie is plucky as ever and I love how she “manages” Grant without being bossy or overbearing. She genuinely cares for Grant and wants to see him succeed in his new life. Together, Sophie and Grant become this most unlikely couple who are just worth rooting for. Prior to this book, they have been put through the wringer and Lane doesn’t let up on them in this first in the trilogy offering. There is the emotional roller coaster of life after prison, the mixed emotions always associated with a new relationship, and the fears and worries of their respective pasts coming back to hurt them yet again. Once you get rolling in this read, you aren’t going to want to put it down!
Sophie let out a long breath, feeling the stress of her first parole meeting dissolve. That relief was short-lived, however, once she opened the door and found herself eye to eye with a man whose black, buzzed hair and olive skin highlighted eyes that held crystal-blue, bottomless depths. The next parolee on the docket? His nose was slightly crooked and his lips were full. His penetrating gaze bore a hole in her. She stood frozen, staring for several moments before regaining her bearings and muttering, “Excuse me.”
She ducked out of the door and strode down the hallway, daring to glance behind her to see the man watching her leave. A faint smile crossed his lips, and her cheeks burned.
As she scurried off, the stranger’s intriguing eyes on her mind, she decided parole wasn’t all that bad.
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.
Jen loves to create sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez finds her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Spiked (Blocked #3) features Lucia’s younger brother, Mateo, and completes the series.
A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the New Adult novella Swim Recruit.
Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Her current project is a psychological thriller, Twin Sacrifice.
Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head