Six years earlier, Trina Grissom disappeared, on the run for her life. Now living under an assumed identity—as Samantha Marsh—she still struggles with the dark secret she harbors and the fear she might one day be found. When she moves to the coastal town of Rarity Cove, South Carolina, to open a café, a handsome widower begins to chip away at the walls she’s built to protect herself.
Mark St. Clair lost his wife two years ago in a tragic accident. Head of the grand St. Clair resort, he distracts himself from his lingering grief by running the family business and caring for his troubled young daughter…until a beautiful restaurateur sets up shop in town. Before meeting Samantha, Mark was convinced he could never be drawn to another woman. But as his attraction to Samantha grows, the mystery surrounding her deepens.
As the two begin a hesitant courtship, double perils emerge. Someone from Samantha’s lurid past comes calling, threatening to expose her. And a powerful hurricane is forming in the Atlantic with the small beach town in its path. Trapped in the storm by the brutal man who wants vengeance on Samantha, she and Mark must fight for their lives.
A new series by Leslie Tentler–yay!
Before the Storm features heroine on-the-run and new cafe owner Samantha Marsh (nee Trina Grissom) and single father and widower Mark St. Clair…who also happens to run a very fancy resort hotel. The location is lovely, if a bit tropical storm- and hurricane-prone, and the characters, both the main ones and the secondary, are a nice mix. If Ms. Tentler’s going to continue this series (which I assume is what is meant by “a Rarity Cove novel”), I for one will be glad to revisit both the people and the places we see here.
(Except not the dead people. I don’t want to see them again.)
The first half of the novel has some spooky/creepy undertones, as Sam, who believes she murdered her ex-a-hole (I’m not sure what the “technical” term would be here. He’s not really an ex-boyfriend, or an ex-boss–both those terms are way too nice. So I’ll stick with that one) keeps getting creepy someone’s-watching-me vibes. The romance between her and Mark is slow moving, because he’s a nice guy who’s very busy with his hotel and daughter and not sure he’s ready to go there just yet. Sam doesn’t think she should get involved with anyone ever again, but especially not someone like Mark–it’s too risky, and she doesn’t want to bring her special brand of crappy past into his and his daughter Emily’s lives. Other than the slight feeling of creepiness, it moves at a fairly slow pace…at first.
When Sam’s wannabe blackmailer shows up, and the romance between Sam and Mark heats up, the pace picks up. Then we’ve got the approaching storm, the big reveal, and a huge threat from Sam’s past showing up–and boy, do things get intense! The last couple chapters are can’t-put-it-down reading for sure.
With a super sweet ending, fortunately. Whew!
I did get a bit annoyed with Mark when he found out Sam’s big secret, though–he was the one who pushed her for the romance, after all, and he’s pretty sure by that time he’s in love with her BUT he doesn’t give her a chance to give her side and explain the reasons. She’s got them. They’re pretty good. That bothered me–it felt like he should be better than that. He makes up for it later, but still…
Fingers crossed there’ll be more from this series. Carter could have a story in him…plus, I’d just love to head back to the beach some more 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary coopy in exchange for an honest review.