Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss
On the surface beautiful, quiet Shaye has little in common with dark, dangerous Tanner Davis. He’s a suspicious big city cop come home to the historic Davis family ranch to settle his uncle’s estate. She’s working for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches—and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead.
When the suspicious death of Tanner’s uncle at his ranch throws the two opposites together, tempers flare and sparks fly. While they have trouble seeing eye to eye, Shaye and Tanner agree on one thing: they need to uncover the truth.
Combining their unique skills—Shaye’s low-key approach and local connections and Tanner’s experience as a homicide detective—the unlikely pair share long nights in the pursuit of justice. Before they know it, the friction they generate turns to heat, igniting a burning love neither ever expected to find.
They believe passion this intense cannot last. But when Shaye becomes a killer’s target, Tanner realizes he’d give up anything to protect her—including his life.
This blurb came from the author’s website.
Elizabeth Lowell usually satisfies my need for romance with suspense, intelligent characters, interesting factoids, and a detailed setting that I can easily visualize. As a result, over the years I have looked forward to each new release. When I saw that Beyond Refuge was available to review I was really excited. While Lowell did provide those characteristics, unfortunately this was not one of her memorable stories.
Shaye and Tanner had an inauspicious first meeting. They met on the Davis homestead shortly after Tanner was informed of his uncle, Lorne’s, sudden death. Tanner, accustomed to thinking the worst about everyone, thought that Shaye’s arrival and familiarity with the homestead was a bit too circumstantial to be innocent. Shaye visited Lorne’s homestead to check on his animals and she thought that Tanner’s response to her kindly meant gesture was extremely rude. The next day Tanner learned that Loren left written instructions that he was withdrawing from any agreements with the conservancy. That information made him more suspicious about his uncle’s death. He also found out that the only person who might be able to help him was a woman named Shaye. At the benefit dinner held in Lorne’s memory, he discovered that Shaye was the woman whom he encountered his first night on the homestead and had treated with suspicion. Shaye was genuinely sad at Lorne’s death and did not want to have anything more to do with his nephew. However, when her boss found out that Tanner was considering keeping his uncle’s property she insisted that Shaye talk to Tanner and convince him to give the property to the conservancy.
Shaye was a mixture of contrasts. She grew up in rarefied society, but instead of making her living as a society woman she chose to work. Shaye preferred to be out on the land working with farmers and animals and as a result she was usually the one who managed to get the local elderly farmers to consider the conservancy as an option. When the situation called for it however, Shaye could and would use her society manners to try to get information or to work around a particular issue. She also didn’t like taking orders from anyone especially not from Tanner because she had a hard time trusting that he would not either mess things up or try to keep information from her. Watching her try to work with him and eventually come to trust him was entertaining.
Tanner was a bitter suspicious man who was deeply torn between his feelings and loyalty towards his uncle as a boy and his loyalty towards his father as a young man. He was also far more accustomed to using aggression and force to get information instead of taking a more subtle approach. Several times during Dangerous Refuge his methods made it more difficult to get information about Lorne and the real situation. However, when the chips were down Tanner did demonstrate that he was worthy of Shaye’s trust.
I enjoyed Shaye and Tanner’s interaction together and how they had to depend on each other to survive. I also liked how Lowell was able to keep me guessing about the identity of the bad guy but I also felt that things got a bit convoluted as she was building to the climax of the story. This was an enjoyable story but as I said in the beginning, it wasn’t one of her memorable ones. I had to go back and reread parts of the story to cue my memory as I was writing this review which is unusual for a story I have enjoyed and very unusual for a Lowell story.
I give Dangerous Refuge a B-