Publication date: Out now
How I got the book: ARC from author
An FBI Psychics Novella
There’s only one reason Jay Roberts would set foot in a middle-of-nowhere town like Hell, Georgia. She’s got a bone to pick with her sort-of boyfriend. They only met online, but things got hot and heavy before their cyber link went silent.
She’s here to get in his face for an explanation. But no touching. Her psychic abilities make physical contact…complicated. Yet something about this relationship made her think things would be different. She’s not in Hell twenty minutes before bad vibes have her skin crawling.
Corruption has stained the very fabric of Linc Dawson’s town, and now it’s stolen something very dear to him. The last thing he has time for is nursing Jay’s broken heart.
But Jay isn’t going anywhere. Not only because she’s not giving up on him, because she’s got access to the kind of backup nobody wants on their bad side. And Linc discovers the woman who’s afraid to touch him could actually be his best chance. At salvation, at hope, at life. Maybe even love…
Warning: This book contains a not-so-naive virgin, a pissed-off former cop, lots of frustration, if you know what I mean, and more trouble than either of them know what to do with.
Blurb taken from the author’s website.
Apparently, I have to write more about this book besides ‘go buy it right now!’ Or ‘it was good!’. I feel strongly about both of those statements and stand by them, but I need to share my reasons, of which there are many.
If you follow me on twitter, you will know that I frequently bring up favorite tropes and settings. One such setting happens to be the southern town rife with corruption and terrible goings-ons. I love books with deep family secrets and skeletons in the closet, all wrapped up in a package full of peach cobbler, mosquitos, humidity, and sultry nights. Shiloh Walker covered all of my bases in chapter one.
Jay went to Hell, Georgia to find out just why the man that she had been talking with for months decided to push her away. Jay was all attitude and heart. She was mouthy, brash, sensitive, and fun. She felt like a multi-layered and complex character to me who was unafraid to share her feelings. Her skills were a part of her, not the whole of her life, but being that she had the gift of psychometry, it certainly affected her in many ways. She wore gloves to keep from getting impressions and images of what may have happened when she touched an object. I am not certain of psychometry also covers empathy or if the two gifts were separate, but I enjoyed the book too much to really care either way. The downside of the gift was that she could not have relationships with men because they freaked out. It would likely not be easy for either party to know that someone could be able to potentially read your emotions. I wondered how she and Linc would make a go of a relationship with that kind of challenge.
I was prepared to totally dislike Linc for pushing Jay out of his life so cruelly, but he certainly had his reasons. There were evil things happening in Hell, and Linc didn’t want anyone to get too close to a town that had stained everyone and even claimed lives. Linc had difficulty grasping the paranormal aspects of Jay’s life, or really, in general. He struck me as the kind of guy who would move Heaven or Hell itself (har har, look I did a punny), in order to make certain that the right and justice prevailed. Of course, his one-man quest also made him a bit insufferable, but I loved that about him too. He stood up for himself and got really stubborn when he needed to, but he also reigned it in and let those who were more knowledgeable than he was in particular areas take over. He allowed Jay to do her job, even if he didn’t always understand it.
Shiloh Walker’s writing is emotionally gripping. So when we got to the first time that Jay and Linc actually were together intimately, it was so much more than sex. It was about desperation that was nearly palpable. It was about a woman desperate to be touched and experiencing the nuances of physical reactions, and a man who needed to find solace. It was about finding the beautiful in a town that was threatening to bury them with its darkness, both physically and emotionally.
The suspense thread ran through this book continuously and never turned off or pulled punches. The plot is dark, and the secret that is uncovered made me do a double take. I wasn’t particularly surprised, but the depths of cruelty that people can come up with and its effects stayed in my mind. It made it all the more horrible and my heart ached.
This is part of a series, so naturally, I haven’t read the books that came before it. While I enjoyed the book, it did leave me unsatisfied about Jay and Linc, as well as the future. I don’t doubt their feelings, I just have uncertainty about other things, and that is probably on purpose. Unthinkable cruelty happens in this book, so be warned. It reminded me a lot of Karen Rose’s Vartanian series. Their writing styles are very different, but I got the same feelings of ‘holy crap, everything’s going to hell and all I can do is keep reading!’. The Innocent had a great cast of characters, both main and supporting, a fantastic suspense plot, and sizzling chemistry. Now, time to read the books I missed so that I can be officially caught up and learn more about Tage and Cullen. I give this book a B.