On the Chase
On the Chase is the second book in Katie Ruggle’s Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series. I haven’t read the previous instalment, Run to Ground, but I didn’t have any difficulty making sense of things here. The story does reference people and events from the first book, but overall, I’d say this one can be read as a standalone.
Kaylee is super excited to be dating Noah who seems like the guy of her dreams. He’s smart, sexy, and successful, and he’s ready to introduce her to the uncle who has been like a father to him all his life. Said uncle lives in a Los Angeles mansion so big that Kaylee gets lost while she’s searching for a bathroom. Loath to admit what she considers a stupid mistake, Kaylee begins to randomly open door after door, hoping to find the bathroom on her own. Instead, she stumbles upon three men tied up in a basement. It’s immediately obvious the men have been tortured, and Kaylee is understandably terrified. Even so, she manages to set the men free before fleeing for her life.
Noah’s uncle Martin is a powerful man with wide-reaching influence. After a couple of attempts on her life, Kaylee realizes she can’t stay in Los Angeles. Her best friend runs a shelter for battered women, and she gives Kaylee the name of a man who can help her disappear.
Several days later, Kaylee has moved to a small Colorado town under the name Grace Robinson. Everything about her life has changed, and Grace isn’t sure she’s a fan. She’s sharing a rundown house with five strangers and she spends her days cleaning dog kennels, but still, Grace is determined to remain optimistic. After all, her new life promises safety and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Police detective Hugh Murdock is counting down the days until he can return to active duty. Several weeks before our story begins, Hugh was shot in the line of duty and sustained a nasty leg injury which has kept him from working. He and his K-9 partner, Lexi, are going stir crazy, so Hugh begins showing up at random investigations, hoping for even the smallest opportunity to get back to work.
It just so happens that Grace is living with the girlfriend of a fellow K-9 officer, and meets Hugh when he visits his co-worker… and let’s just say the meeting doesn’t go well. Grace is very nervous about being in the presence of police officers, since she knows the man who is after her has several cops on his payroll. Hugh detects her nervousness and vows there and then to discover all of Grace’s secrets. As one might imagine, this serves only to increase her fear, and a sort of vicious circle ensues.
It doesn’t take very long for both Grace and Hugh to admit they’re attracted to one another. I was initially pretty puzzled by this, but decided to just go with it for a while, and fortunately, the author was soon able to make me believe in the chemistry between them, making an actual romance a little easier to swallow. They don’t admit their feelings right away, and I was pleased with Ms. Ruggle’s decision to allow them to get to know each other before any grand proclamations are made.
Depending on your perspective, Grace and Hugh are either the world’s luckiest or unluckiest people. During the course of about a week, their lives are threatened six or seven times. Of course, they always manage to save themselves, and I found myself a little frustrated by the constant failure on the part of the villain. Since Hugh is a cop, I pretty much expected him to know how to take care of himself, but I struggled to buy into the fact that Grace, a woman who spent most of her time behind a desk before going on the run, was able to fight off her attackers each and every time they came for her. I’m not a fan of the ‘damsel in distress’ trope, but I also want the strengths of my heroines to be believable – and Grace’s simply aren’t.
I did end up really enjoying the relationship between the couple. Hugh is something of a joker, which serves as an excellent foil for Grace’s serious nature. I loved watching Grace lay her fears to rest and realize Hugh was one of the good guys. Once she starts to trust him, I was completely sold on them as a couple.
If you’re someone who doesn’t take romantic suspense novels too seriously, you’re likely to enjoy On the Chase. It’s pretty implausible at times, but still ended up being a lot of fun to read. This certainly wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read in a while, but it’s also far from being one of the worst.