by Lori Ryan
Combining heart-soaring contemporary romance with heart-pounding suspense is a trademark of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lori Ryan—and in her novel Ever Hopeful she delivers spectacularly on both counts.
Two-months pregnant and trapped in a violent marriage, Laura Kensington realizes that her ruthless and powerful in-laws will never let her go, even after the strange sudden death of her abusive husband. Fleeing far away to the Texas ranch of Cade Bishop, a strong yet tender man who believes in second chances, Laura finds herself irresistibly drawn to Cade’s gentle passion and giving heart. But there is no escaping the shadows of her past and soon danger re-enters her world, pulling Laura into a deadly web of lies, betrayals, and murder. And only Cade Bishop’s quiet strength and unwavering love can set her free.
“You wanna know the first time he beat her so badly she couldn’t leave the house for a week?” Cade asked.
“No,” Shane managed to say but Cade wasn’t listening to him. He was staring at the wall like he was seeing the story he was telling and he was too trapped by the power of it to see what was around him or hear Shane’s voice.
“When her brother died. She wanted to go home to the funeral, but her husband had a business dinner she needed to be at. She had the nerve to ask him to postpone it so she could fly home for her brother’s funeral. The irony was, she couldn’t go to the dinner with him anyway. After the beating he gave her, she couldn’t be seen in public for over a week so she missed the flipping dinner anyway.”
The brothers sat together without speaking for a long time. There was nothing to say. Shane couldn’t imagine the fear Laura must have been living in every single day. The threat of having the person you thought you loved and could trust turn on you like that.
“I wish he wasn’t dead,” Cade said. Shane didn’t have to ask why. He was thinking the same thing himself. If her husband wasn’t dead they could hunt him down and have the satisfaction of teaching him what it was like to be hit by someone so much stronger than yourself, to live in constant fear.
Boy howdy. I’m not sure where to start on this one except its one of the best books I’ve read all year. It had a heroine that I fell in love with with from the first page, a hero to die for, an expertly woven suspense element woven in and a subject matter that was dealt with so beautifully and poignant that most authors would have glossed over.
Laura is one of those heroine’s that you root for right from the start. Abused in a marriage and I mean, really abused, mentally, emotionally and physically abused. Plus, abused as a child, too. Plus the MIL from hell. The one person besides herself that she could count on was dead, too. While I felt bad for Laura, she was no push over. I know you are thinking that she is but once her plan starts on motion, there is no stopping her. Plus, once she meets Cade…all bets are off.
Cade is one of those heroes that you think is too good to be true. In some respects he is but he is very patient with Laura. He doesn’t rush her into anything that she doesn’t want to do. He is the complete opposite of her husband and father that Laura doesn’t believe that a man can be this good. That’s what I really liked about him. If you read the excerpt, that’s the side of Cade that Laura doesn’t see at first. That a man would actually take care of her the way she should have been treated all along. *sigh* Plus, Cade’s brother Shane willing to help her, too.
And of course, let’s not forget their mother, the doctor friend and the whole town of Evers that gets in the act. The towns people themselves are characters that I fell in love with too. Trust me, you will be rolling on the floor with laughter during the diner scene when Cade “introduces” Laura to the town and the pie making scene at the ranch. I grew up with people like that in my grandmother’s small towns and as much as they are intrusive, they are loyal, friendly to a fault but you definitely want them to back you up in a fight.
I’m not to going to talk about the suspense element too much because if I did it would spoil it. What I will say is that the PI’s are somewhat clueless and Laura’s husband’s business partner is slimy. Yes, slimy and most of the time, he didn’t have a clue either. Some of the suspense element is wrapped up in the story but there are still some unanswered questions. I’ve been told by a very reliable sort that Cade and Laura’s story isn’t quite finished. 🙂 I jumped for joy when I found out and I think you will too.
If you are looking for the hotness factor in the book, there isn’t and it doesn’t need it. Trust me, Lori can write hawt (read her Sutton series) but in this story…it doesn’t need it. In fact, it would have spoiled Cade and Laura’s relationship. Laura needed to finally trust a man in her life and sex would have just complicated it. Plus when you read the book, its understandable the “why” there is no sex in the book.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and I honestly don’t know who Ms. Ryan will write about next. Could be Shane? Could be Justin, Laura’s brother in law. Oh wait…I didn’t talk about him did I? He He! Yes, he factors into the book nicely but you will have to just read it to find out.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lori is an award winning author and stay-at-home mom. Her second book, Penalty Clause, won first place in the romance category in Lcuky Cinda Publishing’s Annual Global Writer’s Contest in 2013.
Lori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.
More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two.
Lori still lives in Austin with her husband — who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths — and her two children, one cat, and three dogs.
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Release: January 26th
I’ll be having events and contests January 26th through February 9th
Ever Hopeful will be priced at 99 cents for the first two weeks!
Price increases to 2.99 on February 10th
Lori will be awarding one Kindle Paperwhite (US/CANADA) or a gift card of an equivalent amount (International giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner during the tour.