RUN FROM FEAR - Jami Alden
Grand Central's Forever
ISBN: 978-0-446-57281-1
March 2012
Romantic Suspense

Palo Alto, California - Present Day

It's been two years since Talia Vega was finally able to live out in the open, but she still hasn't gotten over her past.  After escaping the serial rapist/murderer who held her captive, Talia and her sister Rosario went into hiding.  Only after the death of Talia's former lover, David Maxwell, the kingpin of an organized crime syndicate, were they free.  Though she's living a relatively normal life now, with Rosie attending Stanford and Talia working as a bar manager, there are a few things keeping her from being truly happy.  Talia can't forgive herself for the mess her life became, and how it affected Rosie.  The release of Maxwell's wife from prison has Talia paranoid again, and the arrival of Jack Brooks in town sends her into a tailspin.  Jack had been a friend of sorts before Talia was kidnapped, and he was the one who saved her life.  He's seen her at her darkest moments and knows just how screwed up she really is.  Jack is the last person in the world she wants to face.  Yet, at the same time, Talia finds herself looking at Jack in a way she never thought to view a man again…with desire.

For two years Jack has indirectly kept an eye on Talia to make sure that she's safe.  When his work for Gemini Securities brings him to Palo Alto , he decides to stop by the restaurant where she works and see how she's doing first hand.  He'd thought he had prepared himself for the punch of lust when he sees her, but Talia's even more beautiful than he remembers.  After everything she's gone through, Jack knows that a relationship is the last thing she would want, but he can't stop himself from being around her.  And, when someone starts sending her gifts to remind her of her past in Seattle , nothing can stop Jack from protecting the woman he's hopelessly in love with.

In RUN FROM FEAR, Talia will learn that she can no longer run from her past, and that all men aren't like what she is accustomed to.  In order to get custody of her younger sister, Talia got involved with David Maxwell, only to learn too late that he was a controlling, manipulative man running a criminal enterprise.  Trapped, Talia did what she had to in order to retain custody and stay alive, and she still loathes herself for some of those actions.  Even though she knows that Jack is nothing like Maxwell, she's too afraid to let herself open up to him.  Her trust in him is slow to make itself known, but eventually Talia lets Jack in.  Jack has a tendency to try to rescue troubled women, yet he knows that it's more than trying to save a damsel in distress that has him watching over Talia.  Their forced interaction brings them closer, but will a madman be able to tear them apart?

The main secondary character is Rosario Vega, eighteen and headstrong, who is trying to live a normal and independent life, in spite of her sister's over-protectiveness.  The Taggart brothers of Gemini Security (and the Gemini series of books) also make appearances, as do their families and a couple of other men who work with Jack.  Though this book has its roots in some of Ms. Alden's earlier works (namely BEG FOR MERCY and HIDE FROM EVIL), it stands well enough on its own, exploring the relationship between Jack and Talia, as well as how Talia has changed.  A tense suspense and a captivating romance make RUN FROM FEAR an exciting read.

Jennifer Bishop