Hearts of the South/Book 8
Samhain/April 7, 2009
Mired in a brutal marriage for far too long, Ruthie Chason takes her courage and her children in hand to flee the trap that has become her life. Yet she’s no fool. She knows he’ll come after her once he discovers she possesses criminal evidence that will put him away for good—and seal her deadly fate if he ever catches up with her.
Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Parker offers emotional refuge, a safe place to begin to reclaim her life…if she can let herself trust the strong, quiet cop that far. Chris surprises himself when he agrees to act as guardian for Ruthie and her children. He does it as a favor, then finds something about her calm strength soothes his battered soul. Now if only he can silence the demons from his past that make him cautious of falling too fast for any woman.
I just can't seem to keep myself away from this series! This time it's the quiet deputy Chris Parker along with his police dog Hound who fall for the abused sister of Chris' friend and boss. Ruthie and her kids run home after escaping the man who controlled their lives. In Facing It Winfree examines domestic violence and does it in a way that is different but keeps the characters real.
For years Ruthie has been planning and hoping for the opportunity to escape her abusive, controlling husband. When she does, she heads home to Georgia and her family. Her brother, Tick Calvert, is with the local law enforcement and is more than willing to help Ruthie and her kids. I liked how Winfree shows Ruthie's fears and how she must overcome those fears not only for herself but for her kids.
Chris Parker has been a character in this series for some time now but we don't know much about him. Neither do his coworkers. They know he's a good cop and an all-around good guy but know very little about his background. There are even rumors that he's gay. It's odd that in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone and everything about each other, little is know about Chris. Which made it all the more interesting to get to know him right along with Ruthie. Turns out he's not gay, Ruthie confirms that. :) He is a good guy who has some deep buried secrets not so different from Ruthie's.
Ruthie is of course hesitant to start any romance, she's still married and her husband isn't about to give her and their kids up easily. But she does begin to feel something for Chris. I think it had to do with Chris' own experiences which gave him an ability to read Ruthie better than most. I won't say I found their romance truly believable under the circumstances but the emotions were so strong it was easy to get swept up in their story.
There is a secondary romance that was pure bliss to read. Two FBI partners are trying to fight off their attraction for each other, all the while not realizing the feelings are mutual. I think I was just as invested in their story line as I was in Chris and Ruthie's. I wanted to know where this romance was going and how it was going to get there. Considering it wasn't the main romance, it still left a strong impression.
I've mentioned before that this is a family centered series and that is unmistakably felt here. Ruthie's family rallies around her and her children, giving them many shoulders to lean on. In the end it's Chris' shoulder Ruthie leans on and he ends up leaning on her.
Hearts of the South ~
Truth and Consequences
His Ordinary Life
Hold On to Me
Anything But Mine
Memories of Us
Fall Into Me