By Emily March
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Catherine Blackburn is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been freelancing and blogging since she was laid off by the Washington newspaper for which she worked. A remark by a neighbor leads her to a dog fighting ring. Shortly after she writes the exposé on her blog, revealing the involvement of politicians, sports stars, and mobsters, her house is firebombed. She survives that threat and hires an ineffectual bodyguard recommended by her hairdresser. The next day she’s kidnapped.
Her kidnapper is Jack Davenport, her ex-husband, whom she hasn’t seen in the four years since their divorce. The threat to Cat may have come from the dogfight ring, but there’s also a chance someone out to get to Cat’s mother, CIA honcho Melinda Blackburn, targeted Cat. Melinda, who was Jack’s boss when Cat and Jack met, wants her daughter safe, as does Cat’s father. It is he who contacts Jack and asks for his help.
Jack knows that Cat will be safe at Eagle’s Way, the luxurious retreat in the Colorado mountains near Eternity Springs that used to be a safe house but has become the closest thing Jack has to a home. Since Jack knows Cat is unlikely to go with him willingly, he kidnaps her for her own safety. And since Jack and his team have recently become extraction specialists, the go-to guys when people are kidnapped at hotspots around the world, kidnapping Cat is easy. Predictably she is furious.
But even four years apart has not been enough to neutralize the chemistry that sizzles between these two. To quote a song, they “married in a fever” against their own instincts and in the face of her mother’s disapproval. Their marriage, already troubled by Jack’s job and his secrecy and by Cat’s life-long resentment of her mother’s job which in Cat’s view had always taken priority over Melinda’s family, shatters when the two are confronted by a personal tragedy. But proximity proves that despite misunderstandings, wounded hearts, and years of silence, the fire between them has never gone out. The fire of anger can burn as hotly as the fires of desire, and there is still a lot of anger between Cat and Jack. Can the Eternity Springs tradition of healing the broken hold true for these two wounded spirits?
Handsome, wealthy Jack Davenport has been a mysterious and tantalizing presence in several of the Eternity Springs books, beginning with the first one when he befriends Gabe Callahan. Nightingale Way is the fifth book, and Emily March finally gives us Jack’s story. Jack turns out to be very different beneath the surface of gallant savior and audacious flirt that readers have had glimpses of in the earlier books. He is the prototypical alpha hero—strong, courageous, and very much the guy in charge, hiding scars and secrets. Cat is a match for him in strength and courage and in her determination not to disclose her vulnerabilities.
Reunion stories are my favorites, but even I am forced to admit that sometimes it seems as if complex problems are rather effortlessly melted by the heat generated in sexual congress. One of the things I liked best about this book is that March avoids that authorial misstep. The sexual tension between Cat and Jack is high from the beginning, but the first sex scene reveals problems rather than solving them. After the emotional firestorm which follows that scene, Jack considers their history:
There had been no knock-down, drag-out-air-clearing fight before their divorce. Their marriage had ended quietly, more like the snuff of a candle flame at the end of a bad dinner date than an explosion of temper and pain.
Maybe if they had fought, they’d have found something to salvage.
Cat and Jack’s story is the core of the book, but there are other threads woven into the novel as well. One involves a secret from the past that has hovered for several books. There are also enough interactions with characters from earlier books to keep fans of the series happy without distracting from the central love story. I was especially pleased to catch up with Nic and Gabe and the twins, thrilled to attend Cam and Sarah’s wedding, and delighted with an ending that satisfied both my head and my heart.
Eternity Springs has become one of my favorite places to visit over the past couple of years. I’m already looking forward to a return trip. If you like Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold books or Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, I suggest you add Emily March’s Eternity Springs to your list. You’ll be glad you did.