When a white Navy SEAL’s teen daughter disappears, his smart, resourceful African-American neighbor steps in to help and becomes an emotional touchstone—for the crisis and beyond.
Not even the danger and chaos of the SEALs can prepare Navy Lt. Peter Greene for becoming sole parent of Maddie Nakamura, the 15-year-old daughter he barely knows, after her mother, his estranged ex-girlfriend, dies. Then she disappears. The more Pete investigates, the more he believes she’s in real danger, and he’s terrified. His neighbor, Shayla Whitman—a quick-witted romance novelist with two teen sons of her own—unexpectedly gets involved in the search, acting as wise confidante, brave co-conspirator, and brilliant partner in fact-finding, and Pete thinks he’s found his perfect match. Shayla is wildly attracted to her gorgeous neighbor but so convinced that they can only be friends—she’s older and, in her mind, a frumpy housewife—that she nearly convinces Peter, too. She finally decides to explore their potential thanks to Pete’s special brand of persuasion and a few brushes with danger. As the couple falls in love, Shayla helps Pete write heartfelt emails to Maddie about his relationship with her mother, and they also connect with Hiroko, Pete's old friend and Maddie’s great-aunt, the last living person who can speak about their family's experience in the World War II Japanese internment camp Manzanar. Maddie has also asked Hiroko for help, claiming she’s doing a project on the family's internment and needs money to get to the site. Hiroko gives her some, inadvertently sending her and her friend Dingo into even more danger. What started as a quest to bring his daughter home turns into a life-or-death rescue mission for Pete, aided by Shayla’s intelligence under pressure and some last-minute support from his SEAL friends. Brockmann's latest takes up the tone and direction of her recent Troubleshooters novellas, which explore love close to home rather than against the international backdrops the series is known for, and in smaller but no less intense ways. Brockmann brings her typical storytelling virtuosity to this new setting and also delves into the dark history of the Japanese internment during World War II and subtly comments on domestic abuse as well as society’s continuing racial prejudices through the characters’ experiences.
A thought-provoking, deeply satisfying romance from a master of the genre.