*EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT* OF—
DEEP DARK by Laura Griffin!
Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
On her way to her new job as a Ranger at Grand Tetons National Park, Devorah McGuire gets a flat tire.
It is then that she meets Sloan Rankin, who stops to assist her on the road. Coincidentally, Sloan is also a Ranger and a farrier, and will happen to be her mentor at the Tetons while she becomes familiar with the area.
As they get to know each other, a relationship that started merely as a physical attraction actually develops into a nice friendship. However, although they both like each other, they are wary for different reasons. Sloan comes from a bad marriage that ended in a bitter divorce, making him distrustful of women. On the other hand, Dev has just gotten away from a terrifying experience with a stalker at her previous job, which ended not only in a physical assault, but in her actual moving to the Grand Tetons.
Things get complicated when Devorah starts sensing she is being observed although she has no proof of it.
As they investigate, they find out that her stalker has missed his appointment with his probation officer and is on the loose. Will Sloan’s willingness to protect her be enough to keep her safe? How will they prevent the stalker from getting his revenge after losing his job and going to jail because of her reporting the assault?
The plot of the book has great potential, but the romance itself does not develop as naturally as the reader would expect. In my opinion, the relationship between Dev and Sloan is developed merely on clichés that somewhat disrupt the credibility of it.
There are many instances in which the characters’ thoughts tend to be unbelievable, not what a normal person would be thinking. Just to mention one example, right after their first encounter, Sloan is already thinking he would like Dev to be the mother of his children. This is completely contradictory since he had been portrayed as a distrustful man, and to be honest, not even trustful men in their right minds would have these thoughts after such a first casual encounter with a stranger.
It is nice that the author wants to fulfill every reader’s dream of love at first sight; but in her eagerness to accomplish this, her characters lost realism.
Having said that, still, if you are a fan of Western Romances, and you are willing to compromise a little on the authenticity of the characters’ development, and the natural flow of a growing relationship, you will enjoy this novel.
The setting described is magnificent, with the Grand Tetons as the breathtaking background to a suspenseful and romantic story. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy living a love story surrounded by some of the most beautiful displays of natural wonders in America?
A cream-colored blanket covered him from the waist down, a white sheet folded over at the edge. Gauze shielded the top part of his head and a black accordion tube snaked out of his mouth. Machines surrounded his bed, blinking and beeping, the rhythm oddly calming.
He was alive.
Annie laced her fingers with his and squeezed, willing her energy to pass through him, as if her touch could keep him more alive than the contraptions. She leaned over the side of the bed, kissed his cheek, inhaling the sickeningly sweet scent of Betadine.
Suddenly the beeps burst to life, louder, more insistent and irritating. A thin blue line, straight and flat, slid across the black screen on the monitor above his bed.
Firm hands grasped Annie’s shoulders and pulled her away from his bedside.
“What are you doing? Stop! What’s happening?”
A nurse tugged on Annie’s arm and led her through the doorway. “Mrs. Davidson. You have to leave the room. Now.”
Annie glanced back at Cam before passing the room’s threshold, shuffled backward into the hallway and banged against the wall. Doctors and nurses raced from all directions and funneled to Cam’s bedside.
She stared at the closed door to Cameron’s room, her eyes burning. “Please, God, save him. I need him. Rafe needs him. Don’t let him die.” No matter how busy God was, helping other people in the world, perhaps Annie’s personal plea would reach Him.
She envisioned a happy scenario. Cam was going to pull through. She knew it.The door swung open. Dr. Tsao walked out slowly, eyes and head angled down until she reached the middle of the wide hallway. Annie pushed away from the wall. Their eyes met.
The doctor didn’t have to say a word. The downward twist of her lips, the flat glaze of her eyes. Annie knew Dr. Tsao wouldn’t be uttering the words she hoped to hear.
Engrossing, shocking and riveting. These are the key elements of a book that keep you turning the pages of a book at lightening speed and these are the qualities that I look for in a GOOD book. Once Upon A Lie had all of that and more!!
I fell in love with Jaleel from the get go. My heart broke for him and I was his cheerleader from the very beginning. Alex was a compelling character that I saw many good qualities in. Their chance meeting one afternoon on the side of the road and the way their relationship grew had me engaged and interested the whole book through.
The twists and turns of this story had me shocked and frustrated at times and also left me feeling proud for the characters with some of the decisions they made. They really came alive for me through the author's writing.
This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last. The fast paced story mixed with compelling dialogue was what I look for in a good book! I'm anxious to try my hand at other French books. I hope they are all as good as Once Upon A Lie!