Book Review: ‘The Stranger’ by Anna del Mar

the-stranger

Title: The Stranger (A Wounded Warrior Novel)

Published: 22nd August 2016

Publisher: Carina Press

Author: Anna del Mar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnadelMar

Twitter: @anna_del_mar

Synopsis:

When a mysterious stranger is your only hope…

The scars of the past have left their mark, both physical and emotional, on former military pilot Seth Erickson. Off-grid in the far reaches of the bitter Alaskan wilderness, he wants only to be left alone with his ghosts. But he can’t ignore a woman in need—beautiful, stranded and nearly frozen with fear.

Summer Silva never imagined that the search for her missing sister would leave her abandoned on a wintry back road, barely escaping with her life from a cold-blooded killer for hire. Now, hiding out in the isolated cabin of the secretive wounded warrior who saved her, Summer knows she must do what she fears most. Putting her trust in a stranger is all she has left.

All defenses are down

After a fiery first night together, Seth and Summer are bound by a need as powerful as a Bering Sea superstorm—and vulnerable to enemies just as fierce. For Seth, reawakened by desire, there is no sacrifice too great, no memory too dark, to keep Summer safe. But murder and treason lurk everywhere and Summer may not survive Alaska’s ruthless winter.

Book two of the Wounded Warrior series

This book is approximately 110,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Review:

Sometimes meeting a total stranger can change your life for the better – case in point with Summer. Well maybe not right away when she first meets Seth, more like a few days later. Summer is on a mission to find her stepsister Tammy who has run off with some guy off the Internet. Her step-mom Louise is going out of mind with worry and as it’s just the three of them now Summer feels like she always has to watch out for them. But with her always looking after others she never has anyone looking out for her. Which is probably why she ends up alone in Alaska on bad roads leading to her skidding off them – though it might not be just the ice! Being a girl on a mission she isn’t going to let a crash stop her so off she goes hiking back up the hill and road she came down in very unfriendly clothes for winter. Seeing headlights she thinks she’s saved, right up until the jerk starts harassing her the moment he stops thinking she is some kind of plant to cause him trouble. Obviously not a plant but a total klutz with the amount of times she falls over.

Seth is not having a good day. The news of losing a friend has hit him hard so when he sees a woman stranded on the road his first thoughts aren’t good. With trouble brewing within the family business he has to be careful who he trusts and this woman looks so out of place that he is convinced she is a plant. Putting his jerk tendencies aside he does agree to help her by taking her back to his place. Its on route after she passes out that he realises she got hurt more than she let on from her crash. Once settled at his place the interesting fun starts. After stripping off her wet clothes so she won’t get sick – trying really hard and failing not to look – he puts her to bed. The stress of the day is catching up with him and its not long before his old aches start to cause him trouble. After being in a helicopter crash he has burn scars over his body and at times still feels like it is on fire. Only way to sooth them is to get them cold, this is where the snow outside comes in handy. A woman’s touch also works and that’s what he gets when he goes back inside and finds a very naked Summer trying to leave to find her sister. She seems so relaxed about herself and him, even in just his shorts. She sees him and not the scares; she’s slowly bringing him back to life one touch at a time. It’s clear she wants him and with only mild questioning from Seth to see if she’s sure does he go full steam ahead. They certainly make use of the kitchen table and then the rest of the night in his bed. The morning after however doesn’t quite go how Seth thought it would.

Summer wakes naked in a strange bed next to a very naked Seth and completely freaks out, scaring both of them in the process. Seems there is something she should have mentioned a bit sooner before passing out, after stressful events she sometimes sleepwalks and can seem very awake in the process. It seems the reawakening night he had was but a dream for her, one she can’t remember. Even though this should scare her she feels that she can trust him. Which is good as she’s going to need him in the weeks to come. Seems danger followed her to Alaska, cut breaks in all, and it has nothing to do with her sister. If she wants to find her sister and keep safe at the same time she needs to stay close to Seth. Not that he minds one bit. After the incredible night they spent together he is more than a little hurt she can’t remember. They had such a connection that he is convinced if he can get her to stay long enough then she will come back to him again, only this time with eyes wide open.

The connection between them is alive but there is craziness coming from both sides that could cause trouble before something even starts. Summers sister going missing is one thing, her boss Hector jumping up and down for her taking time off to find her is another (always knew there was something off with him) but to top it off there have been the attacks on her life. Seth’s might not be as crazy but he does have his cousin trying to sabotage the family business and him anyway he can so he can take over. The centre focus for the story does come away from Summer looking for her sister but that was just the reason she went to Alaska, she’s staying for a very different one.

The chemistry between them grows right from the start. Summer may not have been awake the first time but her subconscious clearly wanted him as much as he wanted her. Summer may be late to Alaska but if Seth has his way she’s is going to stay for good. The story is complex and grows in different directions along with the relationship. So many twists and turns to keep you hooked. You get to see a different side to Summer when she is sleepwalking. It’s when her subconscious wakes up and slowly opens her eyes to what’s been too hard to accept for so long that she sees most clearly. She was forever chasing a dream and only when she was ready would she get the answer she sought. Loved the connection with spirit animals but that’s just me. With hers being a bear and how one came to her rescue later on and with Seth’s being a golden eagle linking to his love of flying. A daredevil who would, and does, go to any lengths to save people. When it comes to Summer there is nothing he wouldn’t do.

When you hear of Summer’s fears with her sleepwalking you can see why she has created a bubble for herself to live in. Her mother died by drowning, seemingly from sleepwalking into the ocean but as we soon discover nothing is ever quite as it seems. Loved her bonkers step-mom Louise, what a firecracker and Seth’s grandmother was an interesting quirky one. When they play bridge after some craziness Summers only thought is that she has slipped into an alternate universe. Lots of characters but it doesn’t feel too overloaded, you can tell everyone is there for a reason not just filling space. It is the second in the series but without reading the first I can’t see a reason why this one can’t be read as a standalone. Just makes me want to check out the authors other books.

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4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from an Author Assistant for my honest review.

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