Run to You (Risking It All #1)
Forever / August 30, 2016 / $5.99 print & digital
Rachel Lacey charmed readers with her wonderful stories about dog rescue organizations with her Love to the Rescue series. Now she’s back with a brand new series—Risking It All. Run to You is the first full length book in the series, after the novella Rock with You.
One of the most charming tropes is the pretend relationship one, because readers know that sexual attraction, plus proximity, equals sparks. And that is exactly what happens when Ethan Hunter and Gabby Winters agree to a sham love affair for the sake of Ethan’s grandmother, Dixie Hunter:
And all that went out the window the instant her lips touched Ethan’s. His were warm, and soft, and sent a shot of sizzling heat right through her core. His eyes widened and his hands settled on her hips. He didn’t pull her closer, didn’t trap her against him. In contrast the contact felt warm and safe.
“Hey baby,“ he murmured against her lips. Then he slid an arm around her shoulders and started walking back toward the office he’d just come from. “If y’all will excuse us for a minute...”
When you learn about Ethan's past, you can understand why he has a soft spot for his grandmother, and how their bond became an essential part of the story. At 18, Ethan’s mother Dawn fell in love with Steve. Parental disapproval, youth, and an unplanned pregnancy caused Dawn to leave home and runaway with Steve. For ten years, alone and separated from her family and friends, Dawn put up with his controlling nature and his violence, finally breaking free—only to die in an domestic abusive incident, after Steve tracked her and Ethan down. After Ethan’s mother was killed, and his dad went to prison, Ethan was put in foster care. A year later when Ethan was eleven, the foster care system tracked down Ethan's grandmother. She never knew she had a grandson. It took her a year to gain custody of him but once she did, she turned his life around. Ethan would do anything for his grandmother –even pretend that he has found love and the girl he wants to settle down with, because at seventy-years-old, Dixie has an inoperable brain aneurysm and only has months to live.
Gabby Winters has had her own experience with an abusive relationship, and she has no plans to get involved with anyone soon. When it appears that Dixie believes they she and Ethan are an item, Ethan asks her to pretend that it is true. Gabby initially refuses, but then discovers she has her own reason for subterfuge when her ex-boyfriends shows up in town.
Run to You, with its small town backdrop, just seems so genuine with its realistic slice- of- life scenes –like when Gabby decides to stop living life in limbo—and she makes a visit to the town’s animal shelter:
“Can I help you?” he asked
She nodded her stomach tingling with either excitement or dread, she wasn’t quite sure which. “I’d like to adopt a pet.”
The kid behind the desk perked up. “Great! Dog or cat?”
“A dog, I think. A small one. Maybe someone who’s been here awhile.” . . .
Logan showed her a beagle named Lucy, a terrier mix named Tootsie, and a Pomeranian named Leo (Probably because he looked like a baby lion). In the next kennel stool a tiny brown dog with enormous ears. He took one look at her and ran to cower in the back corner of his kennel.
This is Sir Lancelot. He’s a Chihuahua mix. He’s been here almost six months.”
Or like when Gabby decides to liven up senior citizen night.
Fact: Ethan and board games did not mix well. Hoping Gabby had a higher tolerance, he pulled open the front door of the senior center. The noise greeted him first. Laughter, chatter, and the synthesized music of . . . video games?
He swept his eyes around the room, spotting all the usual suspects seated around tables containing their favorite board games. But across the room, Gram and Marlene stood in front of the TV laughing and swaying from side to side. A video game was on the screen. In fact, it almost looked like Gram and Marlene were. . .
“Look Ethan!” Gram called to him. “I’m skiing!”
So she was. They were playing one of those games with a sensor where you controlled your player by moving your body. As he watched, Gram hopped in place, and her character went over a jump on the screen. She and Marlene bumped into each other, laughing themselves silly as the characters on the screen did the same
Of course this is not the heart of the book –the heart of the book is the love story developing between Gabby and Ethan which comes across just as authentic as the scenes above. It’s easy to believe that someone really would try to make a cherished grandmother happy before she died. And it's easy to believe in the small-town goodness.
Readers who are looking for a delightful love story with wonderful, genuine characters, won’t want to miss this one!
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Run to You by Rachel Lacey, available August 30, 2016:
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