Tool Belt Defender by Carla Cassidy
Harlequin (Dec. 20, 2011)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99 (electronic copy not available until 1/1/2012)
Favorite Lines: “”Larry Norwood is dead, but somebody was outside my window, somebody wearing a ski mask just like Larry used to do when he came into the shed.”
She got up from the sofa and walked over to her brother. “Somebody is after me, Tom. I feel it. I know it in the very depth of my being. It’s not over yet for me and I’m afraid.”
Tom hesitated a moment and then released a deep sigh. “Maybe you should talk to somebody about post-traumatic stress.”
“I’m not crazy. I saw what I saw,” she exclaimed with rising anger in her voice.” (p. 77, egalley)
It’s Party Time…
That’s the “invitation” shoved under her door. It’s got Brittany Grayson fearing for her life…and her sanity. She’s sure the monster who once held her captive for months is dead, so why his chilling words in the note? His menacing face in the window? And why won’t anyone —even her lawmen brothers—believe that somehow he’s after her again?
Brittany just wants a normal, independent life in Black Rock. Romance is out of the question… although she’s okay as friends-with-benefits with Alex Crawford, her hunky, marriage-phobic contractor. Alex, a single dad, has his own good reasons not to fall for Brittany. But none of them matter when the race is on to find the killer who’s kidnapped her!
Tool Belt Defender is book five in Carla Cassidy‘s Lawmen of Black Rock series. It’s a romantic suspense that will keep you guessing to the end. It’s not necessary to read the previous four books to get a grip on the story. I’ve only read Tool Belt Defender and I was not confused, but I do believe I’d have been more emotionally involved had I at least read book four, Special Agent’s Surrender prior to attempting the book. A look at the trauma as it occurred instead of watching the result of the trauma.
We are introduced to a woman still in recovery after being held by a madman. She was never raped, but the psychological terror has remained. Now someone has decided to finish what the first man failed to accomplish and no one but Brittany, the original victim feels him coming.
There is nothing worse than knowing danger is stalking you and trying to get help but no one believes you. That, in addition to Brittany’s determination to build a “normal” life, pulled me into Tool Belt Defender. I never thought she was losing her grip on reality, but it was easy to see how those surrounding her might be concerned. How? Well, Cassidy writes the story like an average romance. Girl meets boy and they begin the possible dating dance. Their setting, small town America, shows its face, good and bad and they simply put one foot in front of the other. Until you least expect it and then something happens. So the story moves from slow to fast, then returns to slow before jumping to fast. Some readers may not enjoy the pacing. I did. I think it added to the suspense because the reader is kept on edge waiting for something to happen.
The heroine’s love interest, Alex, was rather ho-hum. He was, however, exactly what the heroine needed steady. You knew exactly what you were getting with him: a widower parenting a little girl. His only concern was the effect Brittany could have on his child. Alex was friendly, compassionate and caring. He was a strong man, but not a lawman which is perfect as Brittany was a deputy before her abduction. I had no fear she would be yanked back into law enforcement before she was ready, if that day were to ever arrive. And Alex’s daughter was the best. She was funny and likeable. One of my favorite moments during the story involved her anger at her father.
Want to know more? Pick up Tool Belt Defender if you are looking for a feel good, romantic suspense. It’s not overly long. It’s not complicated. It’s story about a survivor finding her happily ever after.