Small-town park ranger Casey Hobbes has spent her life under the radar, carefully guarding a secret. “The forest flirt,” as her best friend calls her, keeps things casual with men. That way she’ll never care enough to be tempted to share the truth about her past. But when she spots a half-naked stranger on the lake’s edge, Casey can’t resist his muscles or his charm and she’s all-in for enjoying both, while keeping emotion out of it. What could be the danger of one summer fling?
Professor Zane Buchanan has built his entire career on exposing the dark realities of cults, but one—the Sunshine Seekers—remains infuriatingly impossible to crack. Zane’s shocked to discover its sole anonymous survivor is hiding in his new hometown. It’s nearly impossible to concentrate on work, however, when he’s derailed by his attraction to the beautiful blonde in khaki uniform shorts.
As things between Casey and Zane heat up, she struggles with keeping her past from him. And Zane’s on a quest to expose the truth, no matter the consequences. Will their growing emotions finally unseal Casey’s big secret? Or will she turn her back on love to keep the past safely buried?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’ve really enjoyed Barth’s books in the past, so I was excited to read about a woman with an unconventional job, and the sexy professor that wins her over.
Casey loves her job as a park ranger, because she gets to work in nature, and got to return to her beloved hometown. She has been keeping a secret for so long, that she is an expert at keeping everyone at arm’s length, friends and lovers alike. But a chance meeting with Zane sends her hormones into overdrive, and has her wondering what it would be like for someone more serious.
Zane enjoys the research he does on cults, but is looking forward to getting away from the glitz and glamor his career has turned into, and re-focus on educating. When he discovers the Lone Survivor of a notorious tight-lipped cult is in town, his desire to hunt him/her down and get the whole story is a huge motivating factor. Despite the attraction and pull he feels toward Casey, when he learns the truth about her secret, will he choose to run with the story of a lifetime, or keep the confidence of the woman he’s fallen in love with.
There were a lot of things I really liked about this story, especially the way Barth handled the cult aspect. I was a little worried about how it would come across, but I think having both Zane and Casey’s viewpoints really helped balance the sensitive topic. I’m not gonna lie, when it came to the cults, Zane seemed to have some really big blinders on. He couldn’t see how his exposing some of the cult participations could be determinantal to their mental health and well being. He was so focused on getting the truth out there, that he didn’t care one iota about the consequences of the truth as it related to anyone else. It was a big character flaw, and one that annoyed me a tiny bit.
I really enjoyed Casey. She was a strong character that dealt with some pretty crazy and intense moments in her life, but she came through. Her reluctance to get involved in a serious relationship was totally understandable, and I loved that she didn’t deny it. She realized it was something she did, and didn’t worry too much about it. She was decisive and strong-willed and absolutely adorable.
The romance between Casey and Zane was a slow burn, with Casey reluctant to open up to Zane, all while Zane pursued her relentlessly. While there were a lot of aspects I liked about their romance, I struggled to really believe in it. I’m not sure if it was because Casey was so scared to get involved emotionally that I couldn’t connect, or if something about Zane’s single-minded desire to find and expose the survivor just rubbed me the wrong way. Whatever the reason, I found this couple and their romance to be my least favorite of all of Barth’s books.
All in all, there were a lot of really positive aspects in this book, but there were also things I didn’t enjoy. It’s definitely not my favorite of Barth’s works, but it was cute. I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Casey’s two best friends works out. Hopefully their book is next!
I give All For You a C