|THERE'S A FINE LINE As an emergency paramedic, Lauren Boyer is dedicated and highly capable. Until an earthquake strikes, trapping her beneath the freeway with a group of strangers-including Iraq war veteran Garrett Wright... |
BETWEEN PERIL AND PASSION
Handsome and take-charge Garrett aids Lauren in her rescue efforts, even as the steely look in his eyes seems to hide dark secrets. When a gang of escaped convicts goes on the attack, Garrett's bravery makes him more than a courageous bystander to Lauren. If they can save the others before time runs out, maybe, just maybe, they can explore the fire igniting between them-if the truth about who he really is doesn't pull them apart forever....
Lauren and her paramedic partner Joe have just started their shift in San Diego when an earthquake hits and they’re at the epicenter of it. Being on a freeway overpass has them trapped among collapsing freeways, with death and destruction hitting fast and hard. Lauren barely survives but her partner is killed instantly. She comes across Garrett and together they form a camp with a few other survivors, as they’re trapped by fallen freeways and concrete. Among the survivors are two wounded adults and Lauren sets up a triage area for their care, a very pregnant young woman and an older man and his young granddaughter. Also close by are three men, all from a work release van, that have escaped and promise to cause all kinds of trouble for Lauren and Garrett’s group, who are just trying to find a way to stay alive until help can reach them.
The bulk of the story takes place over the course of about a week, the length of time they’re trapped, trying to figure out a way to get help since help isn’t coming to them. The situation is gruesome and the scenes were disturbing to read, but fit the reality of their situation. There are bodies that they’ve laid in a group away from their make shift camp, but at one point not one, but two of the men are forced to hide with the dead, undercover, and are described as having flesh and the stench of the dead on them. Truly, it's disgusting to picture it and I found myself cringing quite a bit.
There are other situations that come up that felt a little over the top in an already highly tense story. The earthquake and its aftermath alone was suspenseful, but add in the convicts who managed to get a gun from one of the guards that died in the quake. One attempts to rape Lauren on night 1 and they’re a main source of danger during this week. The group has enough to deal with, what with a water and food supply that is dwindling quickly, but the convicts are the cause of other injuries members in the group sustain as they try to break out of the area they’re trapped in to get help. Garrett has a connection to these men and it’s a secret he keeps from Lauren and the others. He’s their protector and even as he gets closer to Lauren, he can’t stand the thought of coming clean about his past.
The romance between Lauren and Garrett just didn’t work for me in this one. I didn’t buy that in the span of a few days, in these horrendous conditions, they had even a remote chance of falling in love. Lauren has her hands full with providing medical care and Garrett is busy trying to keep the convicts away and trying to find a to get help. I understand them coming together in such a high stress situation, and maybe I could have believed it was lust at first site for them, but love? Not buying it. Alone, Garrett and Lauren are very interesting characters. I’d have loved to have gotten some kind of deeper connection with them on page, maybe more time away from the earthquake devastation was needed, some additional time spent together after the fact. The disaster they were in the middle of really took over story-wise and it was hard to connect with the characters away from their roles in the earthquake.
I did however, find myself intrigued by a couple of supporting characters: Owen, another convict that survived and Sam, a man who’s injured for the majority of the story. Owen’s story seems to wrap up at the end which I’m sad about; I’d love to know more about this young man. But Sam, I was pleased to see, gets the next book. His situation at the end of Aftershock has me really interested in seeing how his own story will play out.
I ultimately had a hard time with this story. The romance didn’t work at all for me and there were moments throughout the book that I just couldn’t get into. It’s certainly an intense read, parts are hard to read at times and I did like Lauren and her role being the only person with medical training as she tried to help everyone. Even though this might not have been a complete hit with me, I am intrigued by Sam and will be checking out his story.
Release date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Jill Sorenson: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review*