A child is missing. The words chill Detective Mike Ryan and bring to mind memories of his own tragedy.
He'll dedicate every resource he has until the girl Sicily is found, safe…and alive. His investigation hits a snag with Sicily's aunt and guardian, Beth Greenway. Beth's cool demeanor is at odds with the situation, making him suspicious. She's definitely hiding something.
But the more time he spends with her, the less he believes that something is about the missing niece. And with all that contact, Mike sees Beth's vulnerabilities. Suddenly, he wants to protect her, even while he wants to know her secrets. As the search hits one roadblock after another, Mike's dedication intensifies.
He needs to bring Sicily home for Beth…but also for the future he wants with them.
And here is QuilterPhyl's review:
I chose to review this particular book because I'm a fan of Janice Kay Johnson. And I'm ashamed to admit that somehow I totally missed this one when it was released. Ms. Johnson is no stranger to romance with unusual, sometimes tragic, circumstances. And this book is a splendid example of the depth of her writing and her willingness to take a risk.
Warning: this book deals both with child abduction and child abuse.
Beth Greenway has been guardian to her 10-year old neice, Sicily, for just five weeks after the death of Beth's younger sister. Beth is a loner with few, if any, emotional connections to other people. She fights hard to always display a calm demeanor. She runs a successful business and knows how interact with clients and business associates, but is feeling her way with the niece she barely knows. When Detective Mike Ryan answers the 911 call about the abduction, Beth's lack of emotion causes him to suspect it was Beth who had a hand in Sicily's disappearance. And Beth is humiliated that she doesn't know the answers to Mike's questions–questions about Sicily that might help him find her.
As Mike does his job, including having Beth's house and property searched, Beth's carefully built walls begin to crack. And despite being angered by what Mike has had to do, Beth begins to trust him because she sees that all he wants is to find Sicily. Soon she is trusting him with secrets she'd never told anyone else. In return, Mike opens up to her about the losses he's suffered in his life. Mike takes a personal interest in caring for Beth; he crosses professional boundaries knowing that he shouldn't, but is unable to do otherwise.
It's hard to know how to describe this romance that isn't quite like most romances I read. Here are two people getting to know one another under the most extreme of circumstances, and while they each feel the pull of attraction, Sicily, the missing child, is always the focus here, not Mike and Beth's budding relationship. And this is probably the main reason I liked this book so much; it would have been totally unbelievable to me if Mike and Beth had put their feelings in front of Sicily's safe return. Mike and Beth may be falling in love, but they have bigger things to deal with. What they are starting to feel for each other is acknowledged, but it can wait.
There are no magic bullets to cure all of the trauma these characters go through. The book doesn't end like most tradtional romances. Instead it ends with hope that there is something special here that can be nurtured with time and attention. I like that and I'm glad the RITA judges liked it, too.