Thursday, January 12, 2012

Run, Run, as Far and As Fast As You Can: "Going Down" by Shelli Stevens

One man wants her heart. The other wants her dead…

Eleanor Owen needs to get out of Chicago and quick. It’s not that she doesn’t want to obey the subpoena to testify against her drug-trafficking ex-boyfriend. It’s making it to the witness stand alive, should a dirty cop make good on his threats.

Tiny, remote Wyattville, Oregon, looks like the perfect place to disappear, but it’s hard to blend into the woodwork when one of the town’s infamous namesakes sends her heart racing. Worse, Mr. Tall, Hot and Packing is the town sheriff, which means she should stay as far away from him as possible.

Tyson Wyatt is positive the sexy new girl in town is hiding something. Question is, what? He vows to feel out her secrets—including what she feels like beneath him. Preferably naked. Until then, he’s not buying the story she’s selling. Their chemistry is sheet-melting hot, and Ellie realizes much too late that the man with the badge is as dangerous to her heart as her ex is to her life…

Before I even get to the book review, I have to start out by commenting that even if I wasn't fascinated already with this series of stories about the Wyatt Boys, I would read this book simply because of the cover. What a hunk! (I may be old but I'm not dead!!)

I also started this series by reading Book 2 in this series and it made me realize that I really wanted to read all three of the stories about these brothers. This is the first in the series and features brother Tyson Wyatt, the hunky, sexy, unmarried sheriff of Wyatt, Oregon, a small community on the Oregon coast and the choice of Ellie Owens in her search for an out-of-the-way place to hide. And wouldn't you know it? Almost the minute she gets to town and settles in to her new digs she is spotted by the sheriff--after all everyone knows when someone moves or moves out--and he likes what he sees. And wouldn't you know it? Almost before she has ten words out of her mouth his policeman instincts kick in and he just knows that she either lying about almost everything she says or she is hiding something pretty major.

This is a story that highlights the horrors of spousal abuse as well as the fear and terror that can become a reality in someone's life who runs afoul of organized crime and those who have corrupted law enforcement officers. When a woman like Ellie realizes that not only is she in danger from her ex, she is also in danger if she seeks justice or cooperates in the efforts to put him in prison. And those dangers are coming from someone who should have been there to "serve and protect." Now I know that Chicago police have a long and theatrical-level history of corruption among its ranks, but recent decades have seen effective efforts to root out those cops who gave all the good ones a bad name. Yet we all also know that there are still dirty cops in many metropolitan police forces. Ellie ran and she ran as far as she could go--all the way to the Pacific Ocean and she ran right into a wall of rock--the check of Sheriff Tyson Wyatt--who, under almost any other set of circumstances, would have been her wall of choice.

This is a compelling story of fear and terror, danger and hiding, friendship and caring, and most of all, family. More than anything else, Ellie needs to find a haven emotionally as much as she needs a physical one. And that's what she finds through her friendships with the Wyatt family. Yet the more they seek to befriend and surround her, the more she hunkers in to keeping her secrets. This story is beautifully written and the detail of the Pacific Northwest, the characters that populate that delightful community, and the strong bonds that connect friends and family are just as compelling as the primary story of Ty and Ellie. It is also a delight to see two people come together who are genuinely good people, who ordinarily would have very ordinary goals in their lives and who could find true happiness under almost any set of circumstances. But the backstory of this novel is full of tension and terror. Add in the sexual tension between Ty and Ellie as well as the constant knowledge on the part of the reader that Ty is in the dark and the potential that has for upending their relationship and you have a romance story that keeps the reader glued to the page. It's my kind of novel!

This novel was released in mid-2010 but it is one that is fully contemporary and based on a situation that could easily happen to anyone. The author has a style that is incredibly readable and is a writer who demonstrates that she knows how to use language effectively. She draws word pictures that are sharp and edgy, caring and emotional, effective in communicating the finer points of the story and the lives of the characters. So I hope that you will get this novel and enjoy. It is well worth the effort. I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

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