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Tuesday, February 7, 2023


There’s a lot going on in Joy Howard’s life. She’s got an ex-husband who starts acting like he doesn’t want to be an ex anymore, a sixteen-year-old daughter in need of a guiding hand and a lot of rides to dance practice, more orders for paintings than she has time to paint, and a roster of tutoring clients who sometimes need far more than she can give.

What she doesn’t have is time for a new relationship.

Samuel “Bo” Beauman is a lot of things. He’s a counselor for transitioning ex-cons, a good friend to many, a construction worker, a brother and son, and even a part-time model for a high-end sportswear catalog. He’s also a man searching for redemption.

One thing he isn’t is a man in need of a girlfriend.

But none of that seems to matter when Bo hears Joy’s kind voice in a crowded coffee shop. He instantly knows she’s someone he wants to know better. The two of them hit it off—much to the dismay of practically everyone they know—but Bo doesn’t care what other people think. He feels at peace whenever he’s with Joy, and he won’t let her go without a fight.

When Joy starts getting mysterious texts and phone calls from unknown numbers, she tries to ignore it. But instead of going away, the messages escalate and Joy realizes she can’t handle it alone. But she is juggling a jealous ex-husband, a handful of students with little to lose, and a brand-new boyfriend who spent several years behind bars. Who can she trust?


This story  has everything a reader who loves intrigue and a bit of romance look for. The characters jump off the pages with realism and I became so glued to the book I didn’t put it down until I finished it. Joy is a great character who has a big heart. She loves to help others who don’t know how to read. I love how the  author highlights illiteracy and how many people deal with this daily. I am happy that we have volunteers like Joy who give their time to help others. She does have a group of people she teaches to read who she feels needs that extra touch to show that they are important. 

Bo is by far my favorite character in this book. With his background I can see why he is a little uncomfortable putting himself out there. Something about Joy catches Bo’s attention while at a coffee shop. You can feel his shyness as he approaches Joy and I thought it was cute to see this big strong  intimidating man feel so shy around Joy. The author gives us history on Bo’s past which helps readers see that people can change and be a better person. 

The story is filled with emotions that are raw that shows how important it is to open up to someone when you are in trouble. When Joy finds herself being stalked she starts to become anxious and withdraws a little from Bo. With an ex-husband to deal with she is not sure she can share her feelings  and let Bo in. Can she trust him? 

The author is very good at unraveling a mystery with gripping suspense. I wasn’t sure who was behind it but I never suspected the person that was revealed. When Joy’s daughter realizes that her mom could be in trouble she turns to her Amish friend Finn. His calm spirit helps them decide to call Bo. With an action packed ending, readers won’t have a chance to rest as tragedy is very near.  Get ready for an intense story that puts this author on the front burner for one of the best books for 2023. 

I received a copy of this  book from the author. The review is my own opinion.

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