Cassie Gambol is in hiding. Like, witness protection level hiding. Her abusive ex-husband is on the hunt for her, so she’s escaped their life and reinvented herself from Carly Sutherland of Los Angeles to Cassie Gambol of Petal, Georgia. As much as she’s trying to fly under the radar, however, she’s caught the attention of town sheriff Shane Chase.
She resists his advances for a while – she’s simply not interested in having another alpha-ish male in her life – but eventually he proves to her that his overbearing nature is not an abusive one and can be toned down. They’re both really, really stubborn people and so they spend a majority of the book butting heads even as they spend it falling for each other.
The whole time I was reading, I kept waiting for something, though. The story is constructed like a romantic suspense novel with Carly/Cassie’s ex-husband looming as the big villain. That story contains all manner of trigger warnings: the abusive ex is just as awful as you imagine him to be when he shows up, and Cassie’s description of her past isn’t exactly pleasant either. Her skittishness around Shane is justified. Their happily ever after is certainly earned.
By the way, this one is a reissue. Originally published by Samhain back in 2006, it’s being re-released now by Harlequin’s Carina imprint with, to my eye, no changes. So if this is all sounding a little familiar and you’re a fan of Ms. Dane’s – you just may have read it before.
I enjoy Ms. Dane’s books and it was a little jarring to go from works she’s written recently back to this. Her writing has grown significantly over the years; in her more recent books the plotting is stronger, the characters richer, and the dialogue sparkles even more. The Dane magic is present in this one, along with the super steamy sex scenes that has Goodreads classifying this as erotica (it’s not), but fans who have come to her work more recently should be aware that the rhythm may seem a bit… off.
If you’re looking for a bit of a darker read in your contemporary fare, or a bit of a lighter flavor in your romantic suspense, Taking Chase might just be the book for you.