Thu
Sep 7 2017 11:00am

Jennifer Ryan’s Escape to You Is a Perfect Cabin Romance—with a Touch of Suspense!

Escape to You by Jennifer Ryan

Escape to You is a love story that evolves out of a rescue but who rescues whom?

Actress Ashley Swan has been imprisoned for a year. Her captor, Brice Mooney, is a cruel, barbaric psychopath, and it’s especially horrifying that she’d once seen him as a friend in the entertainment industry, and enjoyed her visits to his late-night talk show.

He liked to hurt her.

One day, she’d find a way to hurt him.

She’d find a way to escape.

She’d save herself.

And the boy he called son, but treated like an unruly dog that needed to be beaten into submission.

If only he’d make one mistake. Give her one small opening. She’d find a way to overcome the crippling fear of more pain and certain death, and take it.

Isn’t that the essence of bravery—digging down deep to find the courage to try once more? One evening Ashley discovers that she’s not locked in, that the bolts on her door are not sprung. It’s her chance to escape.

Nightmares of her earlier attempts swamped her mind, but out of those gruesome images hope grew that this time, luck was on her side.

In the dead of winter, dressed in an ice-blue satin gown three sizes too small, wearing towering heels encrusted with crystals, Ashley runs for her life. But before she leaves, she asks four year-old Adam whether he wants to stay or go with her.: “He nodded.” Perhaps it’s foolhardy for Ashley to complicate her risky attempt for freedom but “knowing how the boy suffered,” she’s compelled to protect him.

Ashley can hear Brice’s hysterical, angry voice screaming at her through the freezing night air. She has to get out of there and fast.

For a split second she thought she saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. She second-guessed herself, thinking it too far away to see anything real … But her heart pushed her to go forward toward that glimmer of light she could no longer see …

Luck is truly on Ashley’s side because the light is real. Desperately tired, after hours of walking with Adam in her arms, she collapses just as they reach an isolated ranch called Hope, the isolated Montana retreat of a wounded, angry, despondent DEA agent. Knowing a massive storm is “about to dump a shitload of snow on his place,” the agent ventures out to the barn to feed his three horses, only to discover a little boy and a passed out woman.

Undercover DEA Agent Beck “Trigger” Cooke is astonished to recognize Ashley Swan—award-winning actress, famous beauty—and missing for over a year.

The cabin-romance trope is often a story of survival and isolation.  Escape to You is fraught with heightened urgency because of Ashley Swan’s horrific mental and physical injuries as well as the frightening knowledge that when the snowstorm abates, a crazed man with the weapons of wealth and stealth on his side will be searching ferociously to recapture his prized captive.

Beck takes care of Ashley’s immediate concerns. He plies her with warmth and piled high blankets, feeds her, lays out warm clothes and soft towels in his bathroom so she can privately “scrub away the filth Brice left behind.” He listens to her story, believes what she tells him and vows to protect her.

“If he finds me, he’ll kill me.”

“He’ll have to get past me first.”

She believed that, too. Everything about this man spoke of restrained danger, but he meant those words.

It’s not just Ashley who cleans up, puts on warm, new clothes and sets about healing, inside and out. In the past year Beck embraced his inner mountain man, growing his hair and letting gruffness and guilt consume him. But watching Ashley wrestle with her demons and reclaim her sense of self, is the kick in the pants Beck needs to forgive himself for an undercover assignment that went dramatically wrong.

First he addresses the externals, surprising the heck out of Ashley.

He slid his hand along his bare jaw and up along the side of his head. “It’s been a while since my face saw the sun. The hair wasn’t easy to cut with the clippers, but it’s a hell of a lot better than having it falling in my face all the time.”

Definitely worth it though, when Ashley blurts out, “You’re gorgeous.” The heat that instantly arises between the two of them is not just from the fire. Love isn’t enough to cure every hurt though. Oscar-winning actress Ashley gives Beck some tough love, even though he doesn’t want to hear it.

“You saved me, Beck. I’m just trying to repay you. You took this break, this time to get your head straight again, but how can you do that when every time you look in the mirror you see Trigger.”

Her final parting shot before she walks away—“I could barely remember my own name when you found me and I’ve made a living, won an Oscar, and saved my life pretending to be someone else.” Ashley tells him to fake it till he makes it: to wear regular clothes, act like the person he was before he went undercover and let that pretend transformation work its magic and he feels like Beck again.

Recalling the famous lines from Pretty Woman, Escape to You celebrates a brave, tortured, indomitable woman who is the savior of a broken warrior and an orphan boy. 

Edward Lewis: So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?

Vivian: She rescues him right back.

With Escape to You there’s a whole lotta rescuing going on! And not to give anything away but an empowered Ashley Swan smashes Brice Mooney’s evil schemes to smithereens. You go girl!

***

Learn more about or order a copy of Escape to You by Jennifer Ryan, available now:

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
This does sound good. And, happy day, my library already has it on order!
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