Desert Isle Keeper
The Son Between Them
I didn’t have much hope for this book. The cloyingly sweet cover, combined with a secret baby plot and the Mafia, left me cringing. Happily, I was wrong – very, wrong. When done well, a series romance can pack a tremendous punch and Molly O’Keefe’s The Son Between Them, is a complex, emotion-packed book that I truly enjoyed.
Sam has both run and lived in a women’s shelter for the past ten years. In her first days there, she called on private investigator J.D. to help with a problem and they almost immediately began a no strings attached affair. After their first encounter, Sam became pregnant. Unclear if she would ever see J.D. again and knowing that she wasn’t ready to be a mother, Sam gave her son up for adoption.
Sam and J.D. aren’t your typical romance hero and heroine. They go months without seeing each other and then reunite for several days of hot sex and little else. They know little about each other and both keep important secrets. J.D. doesn’t know that Sam had his child. Sam knows nothing about J.D.’s background or what he does during the months they are apart.
Their lives are changed when a series of events force them to spend more time together. After months apart, Sam asks J.D. to investigate the background of a mysterious young pregnant woman who appears at the shelter. Soon after J.D. arrives, her son Spencer and his newly widowed mother appear unannounced. Spencer is grieving the loss of his father and wants to meet Sam for the first time. The resulting events force Sam to face some hard truths about herself. When she demands honesty from J.D., Sam is shocked at the secrets he reveals.
Sam and J.D. both want so much more than they’ve given to each other, but neither thinks they can have any more. Sam has lived a lonely life. With the exception of the rare moments with J.D., she’s devoted her life to her work.
I don’t usually do dark heroes and J.D. is very much one, with secrets much darker than I expected. Despite the tremendous amount of pain he causes Sam as their secrets are revealed, I never doubted the depth of his feelings for both Sam, and Spencer. He wants to protect Sam from his darker side. In the process, he deliberately hurts her with his words, hurling insults that shatter her.
I enjoyed the secondary characters of young Spencer and his mother. Their pain, over the death of their father and husband was palpable.
It’s a bit of a stretch that J.D. and Sam’s son both appear at the shelter at the same time, but without this coincidence there really wouldn’t be much of a plot and it didn’t distract from my enjoyment of the book. After initial reservations, I also felt that the Mafia plot helped pull things together, forcing more of J.D.’s secrets to be revealed.
A mark of a good book for me is one that stays with me when I’m forced to put it down. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Sam, J.D., and the other characters in the book over the past few days. In fact, I’ve dreamt about scenes from this book the past few evenings. I found this to be an intense, and very satisfying read and one that I will undoubtedly revisit in the future.