May Contain Spoilers
Entangled Publishing’s Ever After line is mostly a hit for me, so when I saw Risky Surrender, I wanted to read it. The protagonist is an archeologist skating on the edge of the law, and she avoids personal relationships at all costs. When she meets Keats McCall, she can’t help but be attracted to him, even though a long term relationship isn’t an option for her. All she wants is to keep the promise she made to her father before his death, so she can finally be free to live her own life. She discovers that McCall is the only one standing in the way of her goal, and she’s determined to keep her word to her father, regardless of the sexy man standing in the way. Is holding on to the past preventing her from claiming her future?
I liked this novella! Lucy has already retrieved an artifact from under McCall’s nose, but she isn’t all that eager to do it again. After he catches her poking around the historic Indian village that he’s in charge of protecting, he’s instantly on guard. Lucy doesn’t play by the rules, he’s learned, and he’s suspicious about her motives now. When he discovers that she’s been living in her car, and that she can’t really afford the repairs after it breaks down, he takes her under his wing. While he’s attracted to her, McCall’s number one calling is protecting things, be it historic sites or people. With his privileged background, helping Lucy with the auto repairs, and even finding her a place to stay, isn’t a hardship, and it’s something that he genuinely appears to enjoy. The more he sees of Lucy, though, the better he wants to get to know her. She doesn’t care who his parents are or how much is in his bank accounts, and he finds that refreshing. The fact that she has zero interest in getting to know him better is just something he chalks up to as a challenge.
Lucy has been alone since her father died two years ago. She’s been at the mercy of her father’s benefactor, forced to pay back the debts her father incurred when his treasure hunting trips yielded nothing of value. Lucy thinks she’s done with Malcolm, but when the artifact collector learns that she’s got a lead on an ancient statue, he makes threats against both Lucy and McCall unless she hands it over. Yikes!
I enjoyed the flow of Lucy and McCall’s relationship. It just clips believably along, and as they get to know each other better, they slowly begin to trust each other with little pieces of themselves. The progression seemed so natural. Sure, they stumbled along at times, but the reasons for that were also compelling and fit so well in the overall context of the story. Lucy was a better developed character, but she had an unconventional upbringing, following along after her father, who was always looking for that next rush, that next treasure. It made her think that she wasn’t able to have a traditional relationship, but after losing everyone close to her, she was so over giving her heart away, only to have it returned, bruised and battered.
Risky Surrender is a satisfying read with fun characters, snappy dialog, and just enough intrigue to keep readers on their toes. I loved McCall, and was sad when this story drew to a close. If you have an extra hour or so this weekend, give this novella a go.
Review copy provided by publisher