STARRED REVIEW
February 07, 2017

When all the walls fall down

By Lily Everett
Johnny Alexander is the man of the hour at a party thrown for him by the Washington Bureau ATF office. He’s worked under cover for nearly two years, posing as a gang member named Alex Santiago, and he’s helped keep a huge number of illegal firearms off the street. All he really cares about is getting home to his timid wife, Terri.
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Johnny Alexander is the man of the hour at a party thrown for him by the Washington Bureau ATF office. He’s worked under cover for nearly two years, and he’s helped keep a huge number of illegal firearms off the street. But all he really cares about is getting home to his timid wife, Terri. He has wanted nothing but to protect her since he discovered her at 17, hiding out in his parents’ barn, shivering and crying. But his friend and boss, Brad, has bad news for Johnny. Terri has left him, and he also must undergo a month of re-entry therapy before getting back on the job.

Brad manages to track down Terri, and he finds a suitable therapy program for Johnny in the small community where Terri has taken refuge, the picturesque Sanctuary Island.

When Johnny spots his wife through the windows of a popular bakery, he can’t believe his eyes. Terri has cut and lightened her hair and appears outgoing and at ease. This is not the woman he married. But Johnny soon realizes that they were married in name only. His undercover work built a wall between them, and she was young and scared when they met. But she has evolved into a very different woman, a fierce and determined woman Johnny barely recognizes.

Shocked to see Johnny again, Terri’s defenses go up in a hurry. Terri left because she believed Johnny would never love her the way she loves him, nor understand her. After she decided to free Johnny from their marriage, she made a life of her own. She moved and made friends, became independent and changed her name to Tessa. But Johnny still thinks of her as the old Terri—he can’t even get her new name right.

Johnny and Tessa agree to four weeks of couples therapy, which will count as Johnny’s “re-entry” counseling. Under the watchful eye of a good counselor, they make solid progress. But can these two damaged people really allow themselves to be open with each other? Johnny and Tessa both suffered devastating trauma in their childhoods, and they’ll have to resolve their difficult pasts in order to forge a new future together.

Seasoned romance novelist Lily Everett delivers what readers want in Close to Home, book five in her Sanctuary Island series. Her well-rounded, appealing characters and her lush imagery will captivate readers and keep the pages turning. Everett’s fast-paced plot strings along the suspense, and the surprisingly emotional ending is the cherry on top.

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Close to Home

Close to Home

By Lily Everett
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250074058

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