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Friday, November 26, 2010

Deadly Identity by Lindsay McKenna

Deadly Identity by Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

One tragic decision dashed Rachel Carson's plans and made her scared of her own shadow. Now on the run, she must forever give up the hope of love—or a baby. But with her new identity, she can help care for a motherless little girl, left in the protection of handsome Sheriff Cade Garner.

As tough as his Wyoming mountains, Cade takes his responsibilities seriously. He will do whatever is necessary to protect baby Jenny and give her the life she should have had. But his sharp instincts tell him something is up with the mysterious nanny who swept into their lives. The alluring blonde has roused his senses…and his heart. As a lawman, he seeks to uncover her secrets. He knows he can protect her and the baby, if only she will dare to trust again.

Fear, guilt, and lies become part and parcel of Susan’s (Rachel Carson’s) life as she survives in witness protection. Life seems hopeless until one snowy Christmas Eve on a treacherous stretch of highway in Wyoming, baby Jenny comes into Rachel’s life. The tiny three-month-old that cuddles close is like a balm to Rachel’s wounded soul.

The formidable deputy sheriff Cade Garner with his quiet authority and gentle touch gives Rachel a sense of being safe for the first time since she escaped from Dirk her abusive husband five years ago.

Life has been cruel to both Rachel and Cade. When Dirk escapes from prison, Rachel is again uprooted and relocated. His threat to kill her for testifying against him becomes an immediate concern. She still struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even after months of therapy, she battles the emotional trauma of losing her unborn child, Dirk’s abuse, and being separated from all family and friends.

Cade also suffers from a type of PTSD. After having to deal with horrific traffic accidents that are part of his job, his body and mind rebel against the flashbacks of mutilated bodies, the screams of pain and terror, and the smells. Each time he is called to an accident, he relives the death of his wife and little girl.

The alliance Cade and Rachel make to create a stable, loving environment for little Jenny pulls the reader into the psychological and emotional conflicts that must be resolved before either of them can move on with their lives in a positive way.

Lindsay McKenna keeps an undercurrent of tension simmering as she reveals just enough of Dirk’s activities to show that danger lurks, ready to pounce and destroy.

Ms. McKenna makes the life style of the people and the location in Wyoming come alive with terrific descriptions. Some of the ranching details fall short such as the production ability of one-hundred acres in Wyoming. A few little things distract, e.g. Angora goats have mohair not wool. None of these affects the plot and dim as the reader is captivated by the compelling story of redemption and love.

Deadly Identity, an in-depth look into the hearts and minds of two trouble souls, is spellbinding. The joy of seeing hopelessness turn to hope and seeing Cade and Rachel’s love grow from a caring, nurturing love to a powerful passionate love with a solid foundation makes the heart happy. Good reading!