WOMAN ON THE RUN – Lisa Marie Rice
Publisher: Lisa Marie Rice
Simpson, Idaho – Present Day
Julia Devaux can't believe US Marshall Herbert Davis thinks the name “Sally Andersen” is an acceptable cover name for her introduction into the Witness Protection Program. Just because she saw a mafia boss kill someone in Boston, and he has put a hit on her of five million dollars, now she must uproot her life and become someone else. She's an editor, not a school teacher for goodness sake, and she likes big towns and coffee shops and bookstores, not small towns. Dominic Santana blew someone's brains out, and until he goes to trial Simpson, Idaho will become Julia/Sally's new home. Plus, she even has to dye her gorgeous red hair brown!
Julia is given a small house to live in, an old car, and a job teaching, when she never even had much to do with kids and was an only child herself. But after several weeks she is finally feeling a little more comfortable until she notices a small boy of seven named Rafael Martinez acting strangely sad and quiet. She has sent three notes home with him to talk to his parents about what is bothering him, but one night as she's alone at school she sees the outline of a man against her door, trying to peek in. Sure it's a hit man, Julia stands on a chair and hits him with a giant carved pumpkin as he dares come into her school room.
Sam Cooper is darn mad his foreman Bernaldo's wife left him. Bernie's been on a weeklong drunk, and now letters from Bernie's son's teacher have been arriving. Guess it's up to Sam to see the teacher…until she gets the drop on this ex-SEAL with a pumpkin and acts scared to death. After talking to Julia, Sam can't believe how comfortable he feels with her; it's a good thing she isn't a redhead, his personal favorite, or he'd be all over her. Sam knows he doesn't have a good enough way with words to get Julia's interest—she kind of learns to read what he's thinking—but he's pretty sure he's up to other ways of showing his infatuation with the new school teacher.
When Julia hears from Herbert Davis that, while transferring witness records to the Cloud, some records were lost for awhile, she can feel her anxiety ramp up even higher. They will try to be extra vigilant but, you know, funding has been cut…
The Professional wants this hit on Julia Devaux to be his answer to a life taking it easy on an island. As the computer expert tries to figure out where Julia was sent, he thinks it's ridiculous how easily government agencies are hacked into. Along the way other witness records are found, and a lot of extra money is made just giving someone else their relocated addresses and letting them take care of the dirty work. But Julia is the answer to a new life, especially when the fee goes up to six million dollars.
Ask anyone; Lisa Marie Rice has been my favorite author since MIDNIGHT MAN years ago. Here, her alpha character is an ex-SEAL who now runs an Arabian horse ranch. Sam Cooper has to be one of the most internal thinkers she's written about. He has an active conversation going on with himself all the time over how competent in every area of his life he is except interacting with women. His first wife divorced him saying he was too quiet, and she hated living in such a small town. Julia loved the life she had with her few friends and her cat, and she thought she was content with everything. Sam and Julia's story is told from each of their points of view, along with the Professional, who is looking to make the hit on Julia and disappear to a desert island.
Secondary characters help bring the story to life. There's Alice, who runs her late mother's café and brews the worst cup of coffee known to man. Herbert Davis is trying to keep Julia safe and keep track of what Santana is doing to kill Julia, and Sheriff Chuck Pedersen, along with everyone in town, is just happy Sam is finally getting some action.
Suspenseful and exciting, this taut thriller will reveal to you some of the trials a person in the Witness Protection Program must go through, and especially as Julia makes a place for herself in a small town and how her actions change the whole town for the better. Julia may be the only woman to ever “get” Sam, but he is determined never to let anything happen to this woman who brought excitement back into his life. This is a slightly updated version of the original story published in 2005 by Ellora's Cave. If you've never read Lisa Maria Rice, grab up WOMAN ON THE RUN, but beware, after reading it you will be on the run for more of her stories of exciting, battle hardened alpha men and the women who love them.