Desperate Measures, the first book I’ve read by prolific author Christy Barritt, opens in classic Love Inspired Suspense fashion. Scrambling to her vehicle in a darkened grocery store parking lot, heroine-on-the-run Samantha Rogers has one eye fixed on her car and the other peeled over her shoulder. A woman with a dodgy past—a past that is quickly catching up to her and an innocent young son—Sam is more than a little afraid of things that go bump in the night.
Sam’s worst fears are realized as a massive, menacing figure emerges from the darkness. When the man hobbles her with a violent blow to the jaw, she quickly recognizes two things. One: She’ll be dead in moments if she fails to escape. And two: Connor, the son she’s uprooted from the only life he ever knew, will have lost everything. For Sam, failure simply isn’t an option. Connor’s safety is always paramount in her thoughts. Leveraging a brief window of escape, Samantha breaks free of her attacker and dashes into the nearby restaurant/makeshift boarding house where she’s been “holed up” for several months.
Ex-Coast Guard officer John Wagner spots a bleeding, disheveled Samantha as she clambers in through the back door. The sight of Sam in distress sets John’s blood boiling. The story’s handsome, but troubled, hero—who harbors a fairly daunting secret of his own—can’t help wondering who attacked the stunning blonde living in the apartment above his friends’ business. When Sam informs the restaurant owners that she’s been in an accident and needs to move on, John’s innate protectiveness kicks in. He offers to help, but the skittish beauty quickly declines. Her mind is made up. Fortunately for Sam, John’s not big on taking “no” for an answer. As she exits the restaurant, he offers her a job—a proposition she turns down initially but later reconsiders. It isn’t long before Sam shows up on Smuggler’s Cove, a tiny island off the coast of Virginia, to accept John’s offer of work.
From there, things really get interesting.
Just what kinds of secrets are this baggage-heavy couple-in-the-making hiding from one another? And what unknown dangers lurk in the shadows on Smuggler’s Cove?
I’ll never tell. (Smile.) You’ll have to read this captivating yarn for yourself to find out.
Word to the wise, though: No one does novella-length suspense like the authors at Love Inspired, and the clever Christy Barritt is certainly no exception. Her main characters’ goals are clear, their motivations solid and believable, and their personal journeys—though rough and circuitous—ultimately meaningful and satisfying. Small-town criminal intrigue is never in short supply on balmy Smuggler’s Cove, and the author peppers the island with just enough potential “wolves in sheep’s clothing” to keep the reader guessing at who’s worthy of trust and who isn’t.
Oh, yeah. Make no mistake: A sweet, disarming romance gradually unfurls over the course of this story. But, it’s as complicated as any budding relationship would be between two people who’ve come out on the other side of past hurts. Especially since multiple obstacles, internal and external, threaten to keep Desperate Measures’ appealing lead couple apart.
Fans of inspirational romantic suspense will find Desperate Measures a quick, satisfying read. Author Christy Barritt delivers the kind of intimate glimpses into the lives of a protective hero and spirited heroine that fans of the genre have come to appreciate. The author ensures you know exactly what the characters are thinking. The reader, moreover, not only senses the characters’ emotional fragility, she experiences it. I would only add that Ms. Barritt does an admirable job of lacing an authentic faith element into the story and forges a lovely “father”-son relationship between John and Connor that would melt even the hardest heart.
Read. This. Book.
A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes healthcare proposals during the day while lurching haltingly toward becoming an inspirational romantic suspense author at night. She's also the crazed wife of a bi-vocational pastor and mom to two bright, talented kids. They don't call her BizzySyb for nothing! You can visit Sybil at her blog, Christian Romance/Pulsating Suspense, subscribe to her online paper, The InspyReader Gazette, follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, friend her on GoodReads, connect with her on LinkedIn, and add her to your circles on Google+.