Beware of what follows you back from the dead…
Detective Rich Montoya was attacked by Sheriff Stenley’s stalker in When the Dead Speak. A year later, Rich is having a rough time, haunted by a malevolent spirit that’s making his already fragile existence hellacious.
Rich, who’s kept to himself for the past year, is scarred more than physically. The last thing he thinks he needs is a lover, little does he know…Chris Neeland is a big guy who drives a big rig, and all it takes is one look at the sexy, wounded man driving the cute little Miata and Chris is sunk. His mystical mother always told him love would hit Chris like a bolt of lightning, fast and hard and not without pain, but he kind of hadn’t believed her until he meets Rich.
Wow! The intensity of the series really ramped up in Wait Until Dawn. After finishing When the Dead Speak, I was expecting Matt and Rich to be the subject of All of the Voices. When Matt found his partner in book three, I assumed that Rich had been relegated to simply being support cast who wouldn’t be back. Boy was I wrong. And so very glad of it.
Unbeknownst to everyone, Rich has spent nearly every day since he left McKinton reliving his attack at the hands of Laine’s stalker. But Rich’s torment isn’t just because of his memories and nightmares. He’s being attacked by the spirit of the man who nearly killed him. We learn that Rich’s mental torture may actually be worse than the physical attack he survived when attempts to kill himself. Based on the bits of images from these mental invasions that are shared with the reader, his desperation is understandable. Fortunately he’s unsuccessful and after his father gives him the help he’s refused for the past year, he finds he’s on his way to McKinton to face his demons. But the fates intervene and bring Chris into his life. As for Chris, boy howdy! Now THAT is a man I’d love to meet in real life. While the sexual tension is high, Rich considers himself grotesque because of the scars the attack left him with and doesn’t believe that Chris could truly be attracted to him. Chris dispels that notion spectacularly and shows Rich just how stimulating body piercings can be. That Conner was so keen to see the piercings was hilarious.
What I liked about the relationship that develops between Chris and Rich is that the characters – Chris especially – acknowledge that it progresses quickly. The information given regarding Chris’s mother and her predictions helps ease the way in making the instant connection plausible. It doesn’t hurt that Rich is obviously vulnerable and his suffering calls to Chris’s protective side. The fact that Chris is a BIG man who makes Rich feel safe rather then threatened comes into play more than once in the story. As terrible as it was to see Rich’s suffering, the spiritual war (for lack of a better term) that takes place was intense and made for interesting reading. As expected, Bailey gives her men the happy ending they deserve and secured Wait Until Dawn a slot on my reread list. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.