Title: Lonestar Homecoming
Author: Colleen Coble
"Gracie has spent her life running from her problems. This time, it's a matter of life and death.
With nothing but five dollars, a train ticket, and the wedding dress she's wearing, Gracie Lister escapes with her daughter to the West Texas country where her family fell apart years ago. There, Lieutenant Michael Wayne-devoted single father, dedicated soldier-gives Gracie the hiding place she needs, and a job caring for his two children. Michael and Gracie aren't looking for love, but it finds them right away.
The couple doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye, though. A vengeful druglord has put a price on Michael's head, and he's determined to face the enemy head-on. When Gracie's ex-fiance catches up to her, her impulse is to flee the danger … and the father she lacks the courage to confront.
Will Michael and Gracie find the strength they need in each other to protect their family and the home they've created?"
This was a truly wonderful book. It had an inventive and fast-paced plot and characters I cared about. Colleen Coble is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. :o)
You meet Gracie first and see her settling in order to provide for her daughter, Hope. She wants her to have everything. She's sure that she's doing the right thing by marrying Cid and providing a father for Hope. That's when everything starts going wrong. Men show up and tell her that he's suspected of being involved with smugglers and she may be in danger. They want her as a witness. She claims she doesn't know anything and decides to run in order to keep her and Hope safe. She decides to go to the last place she wants to and hopefully the last place anyone would look for her.
The bullets start flying before she can even pack. Gracie and Hope have to start over with nothing. That's when they meet Michael. He arranges to have Gracie work to take care of his children. He isn't sure what she's hiding from, but she proves to be telling the truth when he checks out her references so she gets to stay ... for now.
Michael has problems of his own. He's a soldier who came back from overseas because his ex-wife died. His brother was killed by the smugglers in the area and he's training to be a border control agent too.
This story packs a lot of action and tension in many ways. The characters are thrown together because they both have a need but neither trusts the other. They also are grateful for each other and can tell the other is a good person. They both have enemies and withhold information about those enemies from each other. The action and tension is good throughout the story.
One of the things that makes the book the most interesting is the characters themselves. Both of them are complex people with issues from their past and present they're dealing with. Michael has to deal with how to be a dad after being away from them for most of their lives. Gracie tells him that "they are not small soldiers." He has to try and keep his family safe from the threats of Vargas, the man responsible for his brother's death and deal with his own desire to exact revenge.
Gracie is not sure what to think about Cid. She ran away before she could find out what happened and now he keeps calling and wanting her to come back to him. She has a father she hasn't spoken to since she became pregnant with Hope and she has guilt about what happened to her mother that she has never come to grips with. One of the things that makes her most unusual to me is that she can see and taste sounds. It's called synesthesia.
What started out as convenience leads to something else and soon the two will stand together against whatever comes against their family. I really enjoyed this book and thank Thomas Nelson for sending me my copy to review.