Reviewed first on The Romance Reviews
Carrie Overton is a loving and well-liked doctor in the small town of Shadow Falls. She is also a mom and a wonderful parent to her son Sam. Carrie also acts as mother to Sam's girlfriend, Sadie. Sadie comes from a broken home and has had to care for her mother all her life. She is tough and resilient, a strong young woman to the core. But she has become a part of Carrie's extended family.
Carrie has a secret that has been with her for sixteen years. Sam is not her real child. She could not have children. She ran into Sam's real mother on the first night she came into Shadow Falls to begin her career as a doctor. The young woman's car was pulled over to the side of the road. When Carrie pulled over to offer assistance, she found the woman in labor, just ready to deliver. This would be Carrie's first delivery in her new job. Once the baby was born, a boy, she checked to make sure that the mother was alright, tucked her coat around mother and baby and went to the nearest home to contact an ambulance. When she found no one there, she returned to where she had left the young woman and her new baby in the car, only to find the car gone. As she got out, she saw her coat on the ground. Wrapped in her coat, with a note asking her to care for him was the baby, Sam.
Carrie made a decision at that time to keep Sam and to be the best mother ever. It was one of the most unethical things she had ever done, forging a birth certificate as well as claiming him as her own, but she never looked back, and he was her son in every other way possible.
Sam is smart and fun, he has put himself in harm's way in the past to help save someone he did not know, but was well rewarded. He is well-respected for a young sixteen year old and has many friends. He is sports-oriented, loves to camp, and absolutely loves his mom. The other person in his life is his girlfriend Sadie, a girl much like his mother, to be honest—tough, with a core of steel, but also wonderful and compassionate.
Gabriel (Gabe) Cain is a drifter, a musician, with the standard look. He has long hair but is quite handsome. He, like everyone else has just heard the news that a woman who was murdered sixteen years ago had been misidentified at the time. He has come to Shadow Falls with a secret of his own. He is free-spirited and a wonderful, kind man. He first meets Carrie at a sports event where she is watching her son play. One of her son's friends has an asthma attack and he volunteers his help.
The area is rife with tourists, and the police have their work cut out for them. Lining up volunteers for searching for the lost boy proves to be providential. Everyone, including many of the tourists turn out for the search. It is one of these tourists, Ambrose Arthur Peck, who finally finds the body of young Kyle. He is so traumatized by it that he is almost inconsolable. Being a tourist in Shadow Falls has just become a terrible disadvantage. Everyone is being looked at with suspicion, but no one more so than any stranger in town.
As the action heats up, Carrie and Gabe are drawn together. Neither of them are the other's type, and yet they begin the slow dance of attraction. Respect turns into a smoldering and cautious tension between them, but they are both holding a secret. Carrie wants to entrust her secret to Gabe, but she is afraid to entrust this secret to just anyone. When Sam's girlfriend Sadie disappears, Sam becomes inconsolable. Gabe steps in to help. His logic and free thinking style seems to be the only thing keeping Sam from the brink, who is petrified that Sadie will be found dead just like his friend Kyle. As the tension and longing continue to scorch the pages, the action and suspense continues. Who is taking the children? Not even Gabe is free from suspicion.
In Kiss Me, Kill Me, Maggie Shayne has delivered an extremely fast-paced, action-filled suspense, filled with romance and longing. The characters are so well developed you get a great visual as they come into their part of the play. The tension and longing between Carrie and Gabe is heartfelt and intense. As each new action plays into the story, they have to continue to rethink their values. Carrie is ready to offer it all to Gabe including her secret, but is afraid. There is more going on in the little town of Shadow Falls, and they have to strengthen their bond of trust because without that, they may miss the signs. And as everything she holds dear comes into danger, she must find the strength with Gabe at her side to protect what is theirs at all costs.
Maggie Shayne has created red herrings at every turn, sending the reader in different directions. Just when you think you know what is happening, another twist to the story turns your direction. But through it all you feel the strong, yet also fragile love, testing its wings, looking for that one sure word or action that will set it in stone. To the very end, there are surprises, a powerful love story and a marvellous mystery, set with an ending that will leave you fulfilled.
Kiss Me Kill Me
This book was received as a free e-book copy from Net Galley. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.