I very much liked the heroine from Don’t Cry for Me, the second book in the Rebel Ridge series so it was a given that I was going to read the third book, the story about Meg Walker, the sister of the two previous heroes. Her story is entertaining, although my willingness to suspend disbelief was tested more in this book.
Eighteen years ago, Lincoln Fox was accused and then convicted of killing his own father. That time of his life was very grim. Not only did he have to come to terms with the loss of his beloved father, he came face to face with betrayal. His friends and family straight out lied, and then the justice system failed him. After spending four years in a juvenile detention center, at twenty one he is released. His bitterness causes him to turn his back on his Appalachian roots, and he flees to Texas and finds work in construction, soon starting his own company. But after almost dying in a freak electrical accident, during his recovery he starts dreaming about his father, who tells him to go home. The dreams could be a repercussion of his near death experience, still the thought takes hold, and Linc realizes it is time to stop running from the past, and find out who killed his father and then railroaded his conviction.
Even though both Linc and Meg were just in high school, they both knew that what they had was the real thing. After Linc’s conviction, it took Meg some time to recover from her loss. But at nineteen she finally moves on and marries. However it appears that she has atrocious judgment in men. After their marriage, her husband gets involved in drugs and becomes a meth dealer. He then murders one of his clients. Meg is shamed again. Twice now she has been involved with men later imprisoned on felony convictions. With the backlash of condemnation from the community, Meg is especially grateful for her family support. Still she is not willing to seek out love again. For the next fourteen years she lives quietly with her mother, concentrating on her quilting and her business. But now that her mother has re-married, Meg is living alone for the first time in her life. Even so, she has too much grit to let something like a stalker daunt her. Ever independent, she finally has to ask for her family’s help after the intruder breaks in, and she cuts her feet on broken glass.
Linc and Meg’s lives collide again when he sees and recognizes her stalker, but it not until Meg has a car accident that they actually meet. Linc doesn’t want her disgraced again by her association with him, but they can’t suppress long buried feelings.
While this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone book.
From the first, I had some issues with some of the scenarios. Meg awakens and hears someone in the house so she grabs her daddy’s rife and after seeing a glimpse of movement, she empties the chamber. Of course this is romantic suspense, not fiction, so the chance of the author writing that Meg shot a child were probably nil, but that is the first thing I thought. Why is she shooting when she doesn’t know who and what she is shooting at?
Then there is the whole “I have horrible taste in men, so I am never going to try again” mantra. Twenty one is too young to have given up on love. I also have a difficult time accepting that individuals are the same at thirty five as they were at eighteen, which caused me to have issues with the length of time it took Linc and Meg to declare their love again. However, even though this not a favorite plot device, it is a fairly common one, so I was persuaded to just go with the flow.
My biggest issue is with the antagonists. Like in Ms. Sala’s previous book, they are written almost like caricatures. I found it amazing that they made as many mistakes as they did and still escaped detection for eighteen years.
Still, the book held my attention. I liked both the hero and heroine, especially Linc’s interaction with his Aunt Tildy and her friends. The healer medicine was a big plus too. I enjoyed the fact that Linc and Meg survived tragedy and misfortune in love but moved forward in other areas of their lives. There is something appealing too about protective older brothers. Plus the concept of having family and friends always in your corner has universal appeal. And while I have never lived in any backwoods areas, I found the world building matched my preconceived ideas.
So while there were some plot devices that brought me out of the story a bit, I still was entertained, and I think you will be too.