If You Know Her
Ballantine, $7.99, Feb. 28, 2012
Nia Hollister doesn’t scare easily. Come hell or high water, she intends to find her cousin’s killer. She returns to Ash, Kentucky, for answers. What she doesn’t expect is to ache with desire every time she sees Law Reilly. If any man can help her escape the nightmares for a while, it’s him. But can she allow herself to take comfort in those strong arms when a murderer still roams free?
Unknown to Nia, as she quietly slips into Law Reilly’s home, is that she’s being watched—by someone who is waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Timing is everything, though he can’t wait forever. If she’s not frightened, she soon will be. Nia has made a vow to find her cousin’s killer. She should be careful what she wishes for.
If You Know Her is the conclusion to Shiloh Walker’s exciting, nerve-wracking, explosive, romantic suspense Ash Trilogy. Throughout the series, we’ve watched a town terrorized by a serial killer.
Though a fan of everything Shiloh Walker writes, I think she absolutely kicks arse in romantic suspense. Not only does Ms. Walker deliver scorching hot love scenes and dynamic, personable characters, but she goes above and beyond in creating a suspense that will keep you perched on the edge ’til the very end. What intrigued me about this series was the abrupt endings she used in the first two books. It gives the entire story a soap opera feel to it as we end it each book, having to stay turned for the next installment.
The hero and heroine, Nia Hollister and Law Reilly, first met in If You See Her. Nia is the cousin of the first murder victim and comes to Ash to identify the body and try to figure out what happened. She was out of the country when her cousin was murdered, and the subsequent guilt at not being there has her doing some investigating on her own. She is accosted by the town gossip and goes on a rampage, pulling a gun on Hope and Law, demanding they confess to her cousin’s murder. Law is instantly fascinated by Nia, to the point where he betrays the friendship between him and Hope.
“Stupid, he knew, being that hung up on a woman with that kind of reckless disregard. Even now he found himself wondering what that mouth of hers would feel like pressed against his. How she would taste. How she would feel if he pressed her up against a wall, then pressed himself against her...”
He becomes obsessed with Nia and can’t stop thinking about her. When she returns to Ash, ready to solve her cousin’s murder, she gravitates instantly to Law. They begin to work together to find the killer because neither of them believe the official story that Hope’s ex-husband was the serial killer.
The characterization of these two is so real in their personalities and actions. Both are intelligent, aggressive, independent loners. They have their own way of doing things and aren’t concerned in how others view them.
“I need to apologise to you again for what I did last year. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”
She turned to stare at him. “Okay? I pulled a gun on you and your girlfriend and you say...okay?”
“Hope’s not my girlfriend. And what do you want me to say? Tell you to take your apology and shove it?”
“Gee thanks,” she muttered.
“Look, I just... Would you feel better if I just told you to fuck off?”
“I don’t know if I’d feel better, but it seems more plausible then you telling me okay.”
I like that there were no huge hurdles or misunderstandings with their relationship to weigh their story down. What’s mores, they generate an extreme steamy sexual heat as they find their way to one another:
“She’d wanted him to paw her. Still wanted it. She was still aching, deep down low, aching, and so damn needy it was almost pathetic. No. It was pathetic. She needed, wanted...”
“ ...he wanted, so bad, to stretch her back out on the bed and learn every inch of her lovely body, first with his eyes, then with his hands, then with his mouth.”
What starts as lust develops into an explosive love affair that is stunning to watch unfold. The romance balances nicely with the main conflict.
Ms. Walker wraps up this series with a rollercoaster ending that nonetheless answers all our questions and leaves us with a lovely happily ever after for all our heroes and heroines.