Firefighter Burke Callaway has been living in the shadows since the tragic death of his fiancée. He had no interest in coming out of the dark, until the beautiful and unpredictable Maddie came back to town.
Maddie Heller is the ultimate free spirit, her love of life and cooking taking her all over the globe, and only a few people know that her easy smile covers a personal tragedy. With a new job offer in San Francisco, Maddie thinks it might be time to stay in one place, especially when she runs into Burke again.
Burke was the handsome, sexy hero of her youth who could do no wrong. Maddie was the pretty, fun-loving girl of his youth who loved to break the rules. They were opposites in every way, but there was always a connection. It was just never the right time or the right place—until maybe now.
But their budding love story suddenly takes a dangerous turn, and a series of escalating incidents makes them realize that falling in love might not just be scary but also deadly.
Barbara Freethy hit it out of the park again with her newest book in the Callaway Family series. Throughout all of the Callaway books, Burke has been a brooding and elusive character. Finally we get to dig deep into the depths of Burke and the burdens he carries. And we meet Maddie - a free spirit who has spent her life travelling the world, meeting people, and having the experiences that she and her sister dreamed of before she lost her sister tragically. Burke and Mattie were horrible - and perfect - for each other. They just fit.
Burke's grief and guilt are deep rooted in the loss of his fiancee several years prior. Relations with her family and her "friends" have made it difficult for him to move past his grief and guilt and find happiness. Burke, as the oldest Callaway, had always possessed a maturity due to his role in the family, and the combination of that maturity and his grief made him nearly unreachable by his family - he was part, but at the same time not part, of his family during these recent years.
Maddie's grief over the loss of her sister drove her to ensure she lived the life her sister couldn't. Her free spirit was set free around the world while she tried to honor her sister and find herself. It took coming home for Maddie to find herself where she always belonged - with Burke. It's like Burke and Maddie were just marking time and the experiences and the relationships they had were just preparing them for their great loves - each other.
As in most of her books, Barbara included a wonderfully suspenseful menacing story that was woven seamlessly into the lives and relationships of Burke and Maddie. It left me wondering until the very end who was actually behind it - every clue, every turn sent you in a different direction and until the villain was finally revealed, it truly could have been several people. Barbara never disappoints in her ability to weave romance and suspense so well.
Probably the only reason this review wasn't 5 stars was due to a brief scene including Nicole, Burke's sister and the main character in Between Now and Forever. In that book, it was made clear that Ryan and Nicole adopted Brandon (the foundation of the story line in that book) because she was unable to have children. It was stated more than once that they started the process to adopt shortly after they married because she couldn't get pregnant. Well, she showed up pregnant in this book. I actually had to pull Between Now and Forever back out to ensure I wasn't remembering it wrong, and I wasn't. The author and her editing staff should have referred back to story notes about the family to ensure this inconsistency wasn't perpetuated.
Aside from the story bit with Nicole, this book provided us a wonderful and suspenseful peek into the life of Burke, who has been an enigma throughout this series, and we see how the free spirit in Maddie gets tamed, and the free spirit in Burke gets released. They just fit.Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes and Noble