Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Past Came Hunting by Donnell Ann Bell

Title:  The Past Came Hunting
Author: Donnell Ann Bell
My Rating: A+

Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Series: Joe and Melanie
Main Characters
Release Date: September 2011
ISBN: 9781611940480
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Fifteen years ago a young Colorado Springs police officer arrested a teen runaway accused of aiding a convenience store robbery and attempted murder. She was innocent, but still served prison time briefly. Her testimony sent the real thief to jail for much longer. Now she’s a young widow raising a son, and the man she put in prison is free and seeking revenge.

She moves to a home in a new neighborhood—then learns that her next-door neighbor is the by-the-book officer who arrested her. Now he’s a Colorado Springs P.D. Lieutenant. Like it or not, he may be the only one who can protect her and her son from the past he helped create.

My Review:

From the moment I started this book, until I finished it, it was almost painful to set this book down. It was so good (and it was probably not a very good idea for me to start it the morning of my husband's birthday, since I kept having to sneak "just one more chapter"...LOL.)

Everything about the writing and the story of this book completely sucked me in. 

One bad choice at age 17 changed the future of Melanie's life forever. She ended up being sent to prison as an adult as an accomplice for a crime that she didn't commit. Her crime...running away from a bad home situation, hitchhiking with the wrong guy, leaping out of a moving truck to avoid rape, getting in the car with a charming good-looking guy who wanted to help her but who was, in actuality a criminal who committed murder while she was in the bathroom at the convenience store. She came out and tried to stop him and instead got 5 years in prison as his accomplice after she was forced and scared into a plea  bargain. At 17, she didn't have the resources or knowledge to fight back so she went to prison as an adult for a crime that she didn't commit and became branded a felon for the rest of her life.

It's been 15 years since that day and Melanie has completely turned her life around. Everyone who ever knew her when she was part of the Dept of Corrections realized that she never belonged there and they worked to help her start anew when she was released after 9 months served. Now the good-looking charmer, Maxwell, is being released from prison and he has vowed to kill her in revenge for her testimony against him. As a result, the former warden of her prison has helped her relocate and basically "hide" so that maybe he won't be able to find her. What neither of them realize when they move her is that she's moved right in next door to her arresting officer, Joe. She was his first violent bust and he's carried the scar ever since, but by the time he realizes who she is, their boys are well on their way to being best friends. (It's really not as complicated as it sounds...)

Joe is appalled when he realizes who's moved in next door and who his son is hanging out with, and immediately wants Melanie and her son out. But it doesn't take long for him to realize that Melanie is not who he always assumed she was.

There were so many incredible layers to this story. The heartbreak of what happened to Melanie. The incredible characters of both Melanie and Joe (I loved both of them.) The friendship between their boys...Luke and Matt (both the only sophomores on the varsity basketball team.) The suspense of Maxwell working in the background, fully planning to kill Melanie as soon as he locates her. This is a FULLY developed story which was just a joy to read because you feel like you are a living part of this story, not reading a book. It was just so incredibly well-written. There was not a single part of it that I didn't like. 

A word of advice: if you enjoy Romantic Suspense, then you NEED to add this one to your TBR pile NOW!

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