An artist and her neighbor, a widowed father, face an unlikely assailant in a series of increasingly disturbing crimes in a small Oregon town.
When new people moved into the Victorian house across the street from hers in a quiet corner of Siren Cove, the last thing Nina Hutton expected was someone who looked like Teague O'Dell—"Gorgeous was the word that sprang to mind." Having moved from Southern California with his daughter, Keely, Teague is starting afresh—and he and Keely immediately become attached to Nina. An artist, Nina spends a lot of her time at home painting or out running on the beach, where she picks up a piece of litter that triggers a series of events that will cause trouble on both sides of the street. Meanwhile, regardless of their fiery chemistry, Teague and Nina are determined not to pursue anything sexual, for Keely’s sake. That could all fall apart as they get to know each other better, especially as Nina comes to Teague again and again for help. With the second book in the Siren Cove series, Gallant (Buried Truth, 2018, etc.) has provided a romantic suspense novel that reads like the romance was developed first and the suspense part added later, having little of the tension of a good thriller. It's more of a single-father romance in need of a conflict. The novel’s best quality is the relationship between Nina and Teague; each believes in the importance of communication and honesty, and they acknowledge their mistakes, whether they're overreacting to an event or projecting old fears where they don’t belong. But the romantic-suspense label is a misnomer, as the presence of a mentally unstable third narrator is not compelling enough to keep readers remotely curious about how the story will play out.
A pleasing romantic story with an underwhelming mystery tacked on.