Desert Isle Keeper
Say You're Sorry
Karen Rose has been on my list of auto-buy authors for the past several years. I don’t even look at the synopses of her upcoming releases before pre-ordering them. I trust her that much, and Say You’re Sorry, the first book in an all-new series, is yet another example of why I firmly believe no one writes romantic suspense like Karen Rose.
Our heroine is Daisy Dawson who readers of Ms. Rose’s Baltimore series may remember is the stepsister of Taylor Dawson. We got glimpses of what was going on with her in some of the Baltimore books, and I was quite intrigued by her character, so I was over the moon when I realized she was getting her own book. Things haven’t been easy for her. She’s trying hard to stay sober, despite the fact that many of the people in her life seem all too ready to believe she’ll fall off the wagon at the tiniest of provocations. In hopes of distancing herself from people who doubt her ability to maintain her sobriety, Daisy moves to Sacramento and starts over.
When the story opens, Daisy has been in Sacramento for a year or so, and things are going well. She’s made some friends, and she’s also gotten involved with a local AA group. She’s even been matched with a service dog to help keep her anxiety levels down, so her outlook on life is far more positive than it’s been for quite some time.
One evening, Daisy and a friend of hers are walking home from an AA meeting when a masked man attempts to assault Daisy. Fortunately, she has had quite a bit of self-defense training, so she’s able to fight off her attacker. She’s obviously quite shaken up by what happened, so she reaches out to a family friend who works for the Sacramento Police Department.
Special agent Gideon Reynolds tries hard not to think about his past. Growing up as part of a cult left him open to quite a bit of horrible abuse as a child, and it hasn’t been easy for him to get past it. Fortunately, life in Sacramento has been good for Gideon, and it seems like he might finally be able to heal. But when his friend Rafe asks for Gideon’s help tracking down the man who attempted to assault Daisy, it soon becomes clear to Gideon that what happened to Daisy could have links to the cult in which he grew up. Now, Gideon is forced to face his demons head on if he is to have any hope of keeping Daisy safe and bringing a sadistic killer to justice.
It’s clear from the first time they meet that Gideon and Daisy are attracted to one another, but since they both have their fair share of emotional baggage, they’re both determined not to act on those feelings. This, of course, is much easier said than done, and it doesn’t take long before they give into their mutual attraction. In some ways, this felt a bit like insta-love, but Ms. Rose was able to make me buy into it, due in no small part to the fantastic chemistry between the pair. The sexual tension they share practically sizzles, and I found myself really pulling for them to make things work as a couple.
If you’ve read any of Ms. Rose’s previous works, you know she doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to violence. Say You’re Sorry is no exception, so be prepared for quite a few graphic descriptions of violent acts, especially when you’re reading the chapters from the killer’s point of view. I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to things like this, so I wasn’t put off by the descriptions, but I know that won’t be every reader’s experience.
There’s something very special about the way Ms. Rose portrays the various relationships between her characters. Ties of family and friendship are strong, making her characters the kind of people I’d love to hang out with in real life. Reading scenes between Daisy and Rafe’s family gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, and the same thing happened when Daisy and her father strove to work out their differences. The romance and the suspense are the key plot elements here, but there’s a thread of unconditional love and support that flows through the story as well, and this is part of what sets Ms. Rose’s books apart from the rest of the romantic suspense out there.
At well over 600 pages, this is a book that could be intimidating to some readers, but please don’t let its size deter you. The author has a way of making every word count. There’s always something going on that will make you want to keep turning the pages, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up quite surprised to realize you’ve reached the end.
The romance and the mystery are wrapped up at the end of this book, but there’s a lot of room for future books in this series. There are several characters I’d love to see find their own HEAs, so I’ll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment to be released.