Series: Search and Rescue #4
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Also in this series: Hold Your Breath, Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep
Also by this author: Hold Your Breath, Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep, Run to Ground, On the Chase, Survive the Night, Through the Fire, Rocky Mountain Christmas Cowboy
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
It's all come down to this...
Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.
I have been dying for In Safe Hands! This series is a favorite of mine and I have gobbled up each book! So, by the time this book starts, you know who the ‘bad guy’ is (well, at least you think you know…) but I had no idea who would be the main couple of the book. Meet Daisy and Chris!
Daisy is an odd duck that fits right into this town full of odd ducks. She is unable to leave her house, so she partakes in window tv (spying on her neighbors!). Chris is a cop whom we have met in the previous books. He and Daisy have been friends forever and a few months before, Daisy kissed him. Then things get awkward…
If you have followed the blog for any length of time you know how much I adore books that include mental health struggles. Daisy is an agoraphobic so I was instantly in love with her character. Thankfully, Ruggle does a wonderful job of portraying the struggles of agoraphobia in a way that is understandable and honest.
I also loved that the ‘bad guy’ is a multi-dementional character. Yes, he does bad things, but its really one of those times when you think “Wow, but he was so nice.” or “He did it to save….” (I won’t say because its a spoiler). Again, it shows how realistic the story is; he isn’t your over the top bad guy with nothing redeemable about him. If that were the case, people would have suspected him long ago!
So, In Safe Hands focuses on a a different couple, but you really can’t read this book as a stand alone. The mystery has been building since book 1 and you would be lost as to who some of the back characters are. So, take my word for it and read the series in order! In Safe Hands is the final book and brings closure to the multi-layered story Ruggle has created. I didn’t want this series to end though. Ruggle has created such a wonderful world and dynamic characters that I could read about this town and these people forever.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: mortal peril
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: series
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »No « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »Of course! « Hide Spoiler
From In Safe Hands:
The thought of losing Chris was scary, so she shoved it out of her head and concentrated instead on the scene in front of her. An almost-full moon and a couple of streetlights illuminated the SUV and the yard immediately next to it. If she squinted, Daisy could make out the shadowed impressions of footprints in the day-old snow, leading around the far side of the house. Those must’ve been made by the deputy, she decided.
Daisy tried to figure out why uneasiness was simmering in her belly. Everything was so quiet and still, with everyone sleeping—everyone except for her, at least. The squad vehicle just didn’t fit with that peace. In her experience, cop cars brought action and noise and movement—or at least a visit from Chris. That must’ve been why the empty SUV seemed so eerie.
She shivered and blamed it on her sweaty, quickly drying tank top. Darting across the room, she grabbed the hoodie draped over her desk chair and pulled it on as fast as possible so she wouldn’t miss anything that might happen outside. As she was about to rush back to the window, her cell caught her eye, and she reached for it, sliding the phone into her hoodie pocket.
Daisy curled up on the window seat again. She knew from experience that she wouldn’t sleep if she tried to go back to bed after exercising, plus that odd, uneasy feeling hadn’t gone away. Resting her chin on her up-drawn knee, she watched, waiting for the deputy’s return.
The wind picked up, rushing past her window and making the pine tree branches scratch against the side of Daisy’s house. She pulled the hoodie more tightly around her and tucked her fingers under her arms to keep them warm. Clouds crept over the moon, darkening the shadows surrounding the house.
“No,” Daisy groaned. The streetlights mostly just lit the narrow circle of space around their poles, so it was much more difficult to see anything with the moonlight gone. The encroaching darkness sent her imagination into overdrive, making it too easy to picture all sorts of things hiding in the shadows. She leaned toward the glass, trying to make up for the dim lighting by getting as close as she could to the action—or lack of action.
She’d resisted getting binoculars in the past, since that always seemed like it would’ve pushed her neighborhood-watch activities out of “quirky” and right into “creepy.” Now, she regretted having qualms. In fact, a pair of night-vision binoculars would’ve been even better. So what if that shoved her squarely into creeperhood? At least she’d be able to see what was happening.
A break in the clouds revealed someone walking along the side of the empty house. Sucking in a startled breath, Daisy rose to her knees and pressed her forehead against the cold glass. She stared hard at the furtive figure.
The person’s shape was wrong. It wasn’t just the distortion of the shadows. Either an ogre was walking next to the empty house, or… Wishing once again for binoculars, she shifted, trying to find a better angle.
Then the wind cleared the clouds away from the moon, and she could see more clearly. The misshapen form was actually someone with a large bundle over his or her shoulder. Peering at the person, she decided from his size and the way he moved that he was definitely male.
After a half step of hesitation, he walked into the puddle of light circling one of the streetlamps. The lights on the SUV flashed, and the back hatch door lifted. Balancing the burden over his shoulder with one hand, he reached with the other to move something around, maybe making room.
“What?” Daisy muttered, confused. The man next to the sheriff’s department vehicle wasn’t wearing a uniform. He was dressed head to toe in black, rather than the tan deputy uniform. Even their department-issued winter coats were tan. The wrapped bundle over his shoulder caught the glow of the streetlight, gleaming a familiar, semiglossy blue. Whatever the guy was carrying was wrapped in a tarp.
Closing her fingers around her phone, she pulled it out and tapped on the video app. The scene was strange enough that she felt like she needed to record it, even if it was just so she could watch it in the morning. In the light of day, the ominous feeling would be gone, and she could laugh at the way her overactive imagination had turned something innocuous into a nebulous threat.
No matter how she shifted, raising up or dropping low, Daisy couldn’t find the right angle to get a glimpse of the man in black’s face. Even if she had gotten a clear view, though, she probably wouldn’t have been able to identify him. She only knew Chris’s coworkers through his work anecdotes. She zoomed in her phone camera, but the image just got darker and grainer, rather than clearer.
Leaning forward, the man half-dropped, half-shoved the large bundle into the back of the SUV. The rear of the vehicle sagged a little, which meant the object must be heavy. There was an unsettling familiarity in the way the tarp-wrapped item fell, bulky and weighted, that sent a shiver across the back of her neck.
The black-clad man shoved at the bottom of the bundle. He’d managed to tuck the majority of it into the SUV when something dark fell from the bottom of the rolled tarp, tumbled over the rear bumper, and fell to the ground.
Daisy sucked in a breath hard enough to scrape her throat. From her vantage point, that dropped item looked very much like a boot.