I've read a lot of duds lately, so I was thrilled with the way this story grabbed me from the start. Towards the middle of the book, I skimmed a bit because the author moved away from the main couple and spent a few chapters telling the assassin's story in more detail than I cared to read. I also skimmed through two graphic violence scenes: one where a cat is slaughtered in detail, and another where a woman's body is literally mutilated while she in unconscious. I like a little darkness in my modern romances, but this was beyond over- the- top. It dropped the book from a 5- star to a 4- star for me.
Charlotte Court is an artist who has grown up in a privileged world. She is her billionaire father's only heir. The head of her father's staff, Robert, wants it all. When she refuses to marry him, he decides to murder both Charlotte and her father. Charlotte ruins that plan when she walks in on her father being killed. She fights the attacker and runs. She is too late to save her father, and she can't go to the police. (They are being paid off.) She has no choice but to flee to Mexico. With a bullet wound festering in her shoulder, no allies to trust, and only the cash she can grab on her way out of the US, Charlotte makes her escape.
Matt Sanders was living the only life he ever wanted as a Navy SEAL. When his men were under attack, Matt didn't hesitate to sacrifice himself so they could escape. His men refused to leave him behind. With multiple bullet wounds to his body, Matt lay in a coma for a few months in the VA hospital. After waking, he had to accept that his recovery would never be complete enough to put him back in the field with his men. A buddy and former SEAL has invited him to come to Baja where Matt could finish his recovery. Unable to walk without crutches, Matt has a long road ahead of him.
Sitting on the balcony of her rental house in Baja, Charlotte watches a feeble man walk across the shoreline on crutches. She is shocked when he drops them and walks towards the water. Having been through so much pain and loss herself, she fears he plans to drown himself. Charlotte is not a good swimmer, but she is ready to follow him out to sea and bring him back to shore. She stops in her tracks when she realizes that he is not committing suicide, but is doing laps around the pier. When he finishes his exercise and collapses on the sand, she stays to watch over him. Once he has the strength to lift his head, he looks right at Charlotte and smiles. The two have bonded without a word. For weeks to come, she will watch over him as he rebuilds his strength. He doesn't know that he is also helping rebuild her soul.
Robert will not be denied the billions that Court Industries can bring him. The father is dead, but the daughter is still at large. Although he has managed to convince the media that Charlotte murdered her own father, seeing her jailed would not be enough. Robert wants her dead- silent. Through the suggestion of a friend, he hires an assassin to track down and kill Charlotte. This assassin is the best in his field. He has never failed to complete a job. Charlotte is as good as dead.
Matt believes that Charlotte has saved his life. Her silent support over several weeks of recovery kept him going. When he dives into the ocean for his daily exercise, she is always there to watch over him. Today, the weather has taken a terrible turn. When Charlotte loses sight of Matt, she runs out to save him. It is Matt who saves Charlotte and brings her back to shore. Now that he truly has her, Matt will never let go of Charlotte. She refuses to tell him who she is hiding from. (She's afraid he'll believe she murdered her dad, and then turn her over to police.) He has no choice but to stay close and guard her from an unknown enemy. When he finds her bullet scar, he knows the enemy is a deadly one. Matt vows to Charlotte that no one will ever hurt her again.
Minus the gore and the long- winded story of the assassin, this was an amazing story. Two strangers who silently support and encourage one another to make it through another day, eventually become lovers. Matt is so openly committed and in love that you can't help but love him a bit yourself. He is powerful, smart, and loyal. Charlotte is strong enough to face weeks of self- medicating her bullet wound while fleeing across the US and into Baja. Although she comes from money, she never comes across as spoiled and snotty. Totally down- to- earth, and always willing to give. Great characters! Both of their stories and recoveries are well- written. Nothing pretty, no super- human recovery, no skip- over to months later when they are well. You watch the slow and painful crawl to safety, health, and strength. You can't help but cross your fingers for Charlotte and Matt.