LITTLE GIRL GONE by Amanda Stevens (on-sale Dec.28, Harlequin Intrigue): Nothing matters more to her when a child’s life is at stake. Special agent Thea Lamb returns to her hometown to search for a child whose disappearance echoes a twenty-eight-year-old cold case—her twin sister’s abduction. Working with her former partner, Jake Stillwell, Thea must overcome the pain, doubt and guilt that have tormented her for years and denied her a meaningful relationship. For both Thea and Jake, the job always came first…until now.
I love the premise of this story but unfortunately, it let me down a bit in execution. I was instantly hooked on the idea of two little girls going missing from the same bedroom almost three decades apart and Stevens did a great job balancing the two stories and keeping us guessing the whole way through. Thea and Jake had good chemistry and I enjoyed the second chance romance element they brought to the story. I also liked that they did a lot of their investigating solo so we got a lot of suspense and action that switched between the two of them. With that said, a couple of things that happened to them seemed over the top and too much time was spent on those elements. I did appreciate that Stevens balanced the romance aspect of this story well with the mystery of what happened to Kylie and Maya. I never felt that the romance was taking away from them solving the crime and I was even surprised at how little romance was in this book. The ending of this book leaves a lot to be desired since there isn’t a resolution of all of the pieces to the puzzle but I feel a little better knowing that the second book in this series comes out next week. It follows different characters but I am hopefully that tendrils of this story will continue into that one.
About AMANDA STEVENS: Amanda Stevens is an award-winning author of over fifty novels. Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas.
Excerpt, LITTLE GIRL GONE by Amanda Stevens
“While I was trying to fish the doll out of the pool, someone came from behind and hit me over the head hard enough to daze me. Next thing I know, I’m caught in a whirlpool several feet below the surface. I lost my flashlight, so I was spun around underwater in complete darkness. No up, no down.” He paused. “For a while there, I wasn’t sure how I’d get out.”
Thea watched his expression as he spoke. He still seemed shaken from the experience. She’d never seen him like that. “I knew something bad must have happened.”
He summoned a brief smile. “I know what you’re thinking. I even thought so myself at the time. So much for my keen instincts. Someone came up behind me and I never sensed a thing.”
“That’s not what I’m thinking.”
“I’m thinking you could have died down there and I would never have known what happened to you.”
“Thea.” He said her name so softly she might have thought the tender missive was nothing more than a breeze sighing through the treetops.
The sun bearing down on them was hot and relentless, but Thea felt a little shiver go through her. It hit her anew how much she’d missed that tender glint in his eyes as their gazes locked. How much she’d missed his husky whispers in the dark. The glide of his hand along her bare skin, the tease of his lips and tongue against her mouth. The way he had held her afterward, as if he never wanted to let her go. But he had let her go and she’d done nothing to stop him.
She drew a shaky breath. “Don’t ever do that to me again.”
“Get caught in a whirlpool? I’ll do my best.”
She scowled at him. “Don’t make light. You know what I mean.”
“I’m fine, Thea.” He seemed on the verge of saying something else, but he held back. Maybe he thought she wanted his restraint. She did, didn’t she? They were in a precarious situation. Adrenaline and attraction could be a dangerous combination. Throw in unresolved issues and they were asking for trouble.