Friday, September 27, 2013

Stranger in a Small Town - Kerry Connor (HI #1207 - May 2010)

Series: Shivers

The mysterious blue-eyed stranger who showed up in the middle of the night wasn't just looking for work. No, when "John Samuels" signed on with Maggie Harper to restore the decrepit old house, he was hoping for answers and a chance to face the demons of his past. But then strange happenings started threatening his beautiful new boss -- and disrupting the passion that sparked between them. Someone didn't want them in that house. Someone who knew the truth about what had happened there thirty years before, about the brutal murder that destroyed John's family.

John never expected redemption. But danger waited in the old house, haunting them both....

Maggie is trying to restore the old house her grandfather left her.  The problem is that a double murder occurred there thirty years ago and no one can forget it.  The people of the town don't want it restored and they all let her know it.  She can't even get anyone to help her with the work until a stranger shows up in town.  She senses a deep sadness in him but she's happy to have the help.  She's even happier to have him there when strange things started happening. 

Maggie had come to renovate the house as a way to cope with the end of her marriage.  Her husband had walked away with no explanation.  She knew about the murders but thought after that long there should be no trouble.  She is surprised by the level of anger that people have for her plans.  She is desperate for help when Sam shows up.  She is wary of him as she senses that there are things he isn't telling her but he can do the work.  When he comes to her rescue after someone attacks her in the house, they decide that the only way to stop the attacks is to solve the murder.  Maggie is a very stubborn, determined woman.  If she has to team up with the mysterious and sexy Sam to do it, that's what she'll do.  She definitely feels an attraction to him but she's cautious because of the secrets she senses.  When she discovers who he really is it's just one more betrayal that she feels.  But the closer that they get to the killer the more her heart starts to overrule her head. 

Sam has come back to face his demons.  He blames himself for the deaths of his parents and the breakup of his family.  He feels that only by solving the mystery can he begin to move on with his life.  Discovering that Maggie needed help with the house was the perfect cover for his plans.  He didn't expect to be attracted to Maggie and that just added to the guilt that he felt over his deception.  That attraction also became part protectiveness as the attacks on them started to escalate.  Sam has always felt that he didn't deserve any happiness in his life because of what happened, but being around Maggie makes him wish that things could be different.  I really liked the way that he told her everything once she figured out who he was.  He'd never done that with anyone else and it relieved some of the stress he felt.  I really enjoyed the intensity of the suspense as they got closer to identifying the killer.  I have to say that I was kept guessing until the end. 

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