Series: Due South #1
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blurb: Love small-town romance with an unforgetable cast of characters? The Due South series will transport you to an unspoilt, wild island off the coast of New Zealand. Meet Piper and West…
She vowed never to return.
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.
She’s a risk he can’t take.
West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?
Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.
And enough steaminess to make your toes curl! Intended for mature 18+ aged readers.
Thoughts: Lots of people like to write about lovers with a past, but it’s rare for me to feel a connection with both parties. I generally find myself taking sides. Did I take sides in In Too Deep? Yes, but West drew you so quickly that you couldn’t help the connection.
Piper is the tough girl. She works for the police diving team and they search for dead people lost in water. We learn quickly that the job is putting a huge strain on her life, but you don’t know why it’s so important to her. When she ends up with some time off work, she gets a call to come home to Steward Island. Steward Island is a small tourist town where everyone knows and helps everyone else. Her brother took over the family diving business, but broke his leg and can’t work. He’s over-mortgaged the business and he’s going to lose it and his home without Piper’s help. After 9 years away, Piper comes home and has to face her past….her father’s death, her guilt and the boy she loved that dumped her the day before her dad died. Of course, the only place she has to stay is with that very boy (now man), Ryan ‘West’ Westlake.
When West sees Piper again, he can see the difference. This Piper is angry and guarded. He can’t resist pushing her buttons, though, and it’s obvious to everybody that they are still as attracted to each other as ever. When Piper and West are forced to work together to save her family’s business, will they be able to resist each other?
This is one of those stories that you read and feel like yelling, ‘What the heck is going on?’ You know something isn’t adding up, but you can’t figure out what it is. When everything finally comes out about Piper’s family, her job, her father’s life and death, it’s shocking. When I finally learned what happened with West, my jaw dropped.
The story worked, because you can see Piper’s vulnerability pretty quickly and West is so likeable. These things balance Piper’s tough exterior and West’s past actions.
A couple of things stopped me from giving this story an A+ rating. A couple of times I was confused by the imagery. I couldn’t see the situation in my head if that makes sense. Some of the situations with the other characters made me hesitant to like them and/or question their ability to make sound decisions. I assume more on these characters/situations will develop as the series continues.