A sexy soldier comes back from the dead to protect his daughter and her beautiful guardian.
Desperate to save his young daughter's life, soldier Hunt Grainger tasked war correspondent Yancy Malone with smuggling Laila to the US. Now, years later, Yancy and Laila are back in Afghanistan -- and face-to-face with the man they both thought was dead.
Hunt is desperate to reconnect with the child he barely knows and the headstrong redhead he never forgot. When Laila and Yancy are targeted by a group hell-bent on revenge, Hunt's protective instincts kick into overdrive. Their only option: hide out at Yancy's family ranch until the threat subsides. But Hunt's own secrets might lead everyone he loves into even more danger!
Good book, full of questions and emotion, along with a bit of danger. When the story opens, Yancy is a war correspondent in Afghanistan. She has had an intermittent series of encounters with a special ops soldier named Hunt. She's awakened one night when he shows up in her room, but this time he's not looking for physical comfort. He desperately needs her help to get a five year old girl out of the country. A little girl who is also his daughter and in danger from her mother's family. She agrees, expecting him to show up within a few weeks to claim the child.
Three years later, Yancy has adopted Laila as her own and has never heard from Hunt again. She believes that he is dead. She has taken Laila with her, back to Afghanistan, to give the child a chance to know her homeland while the military is still there to protect them. She doesn't think that Laila would still be in danger after all this time, until they are surrounded by men during a visit to the market. Quick thinking on Yancy's part helps them get away, as does the help of what appears to be an Afghan tribal leader. Much to her shock, it turns out to be a very much alive Hunt.
Hunt has been undercover for three years, posing as a tribal leader, working to build a coalition to stop the Taliban. He has also kept an eye on Yancy and Laila, and wasn't at all happy to see them come back to Afghanistan. He's risking a lot, coming to their aid, but he has no choice.
The attraction is still there between Yancy and Hunt, but her priority is now to take care of Laila. She doesn't want him to get involved in their lives, then disappear again. Hunt wants them to be safe, and convinces Yancy that the only way is for them to leave the country and go someplace safe. Having recently received a letter from the grandfather she never knew, Yancy takes Laila and goes to Sam.
Yancy isn't too sure about being there, but will do whatever necessary for Laila. I loved their arrival at the ranch, and seeing them start to settle in. Sam is still quite a character, and it was pretty sweet to see him interact with Laila. Hunt is never far from Yancy's mind and she worries about his safety. He worries about theirs also, and I loved his test of the ranch security. I thought it was also pretty significant that he couldn't just leave without seeing Yancy again.
Yancy fights hard against her growing feelings for Hunt. She doesn't understand why they have changed, but she knows that nothing can come of them. Making him part of their lives when he can disappear for years at a time isn't fair to Laila or her. But when she sees a news report that he has died in a helicopter crash, she is devastated. I loved her reaction when she discovered that it was a cover for the end of his mission.
Things get more interesting when he shows up at the ranch, wanting the chance to get to know Laila and to spend time with Yancy. She is hesitant, as the reasons to keep apart haven't changed. Hunt knows he can't stay, as his job isn't just what he does, it's who he is. The thoughts of being stuck in one place brings back memories of his youth and what drove him to join the military. However, he can't deny the need that is growing in him, that cries out to be part of their lives. I did get a bit frustrated with how Yancy kept pushing him away, rather than looking for a way to make it work. Hunt also seemed unable to see an alternative. It isn't until a near tragedy occurs that both of them can look at their fears and find a way around them. I liked the solution they came up with.
I enjoyed the scenes with Sam as he interacts with Laila. It was sweet to see his gruffness as he used it to hide his niceness. I loved how he went to the trouble of getting goats for her, but hid it behind his "demand" that she let him teach her to ride. I ached for him as he remembers all the things he did wrong with his various relationships and tries to redeem himself now. He really came through with his actions at the end. I also loved his flashbacks, as more of his own story is revealed. I can't wait to see what is next.