Dean Lawson was back to clear his name. He was never tried or convicted for the disappearance of Michelle Carling twelve years before, but everyone in his hometown was sure he was responsible for it. When Michelle's body was discovered, he knew the time was right to set the record straight. He just hoped that everyone would be prepared for the backlash. What Dean wasn't prepared for was his reaction to Michelle's little sister at the memorial service. Haley was always a cute kid, but she had grown up to be beautiful.
Haley Carling was carrying a burden too large for one person to carry alone, but unfortunately she had no one to lean on or to really help her. Her sister Paige had escaped and moved to the city. Her brother Garret had his own family to worry about, and wasn't there to help her. She had been running the family business while caring for her alcoholic mother after her father died. When she realized that Dean was back, she was conflicted between the rumors surrounding his involvement with Michelle, and her lingering schoolgirl feelings for him.
When Dean presented his evidence to Haley, they decided to team up to find the truth. No one approved of their association, but they decided the grief was worth it to find a killer. As they spent more time together, they couldn't resist the pull between them, and gave in to the combustible passion between them. When Haley became the killer's obsession, it was a race against time to expose the truth before she became the next casualty.
I expected this to be just a good suspenseful read, but it turned out to be much more, and the appearance of Michelle's ghost added another unexpected element. Haley lived such a depressing existence letting a sense of responsibility to her family and the family business suck the life out of her. Her whole family disintegrated when Michelle disappeared. Her father never giving up hope on his daughters return, literally gave up on everything else, and her mother crawled into the bottle without ever emerging. Dean was branded a murderer without any proof, and was understandably set on proving his innocence. Well written with multi-layered characters. This emotional story is one you will not want to miss.