Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings

Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings

A shocking betrayal...her father's murder...and a life-threatening accusation...Heiress Charlotte Court has walked into a waking nightmare--one that sends her running from her wealthy home to anywhere she can hide.

Across the border in Mexico, Charlotte creates a new identity and finds refuge in the battle-torn arms of Navy SEAL Matt Sanders.  Fleeing his past, Matt yearns to protect her and replace her pain with pleasure.  But Charlotte can't trust anyone, not even someone she's starting to love.  She knows she's a target--and out of sight, a soulless killer is zeroing in on his prey...

I have read this book several times and every single time I am reminded again how much I love it!  While not perfect (there are some scenes that deal with the bad guy(s) I prefer not to read as they are fairly graphic and I am a weeny when it comes to anything that even suggests pain or torture) but every word about Matt and Charlotte I suck up like a starving woman downing carbs.  

Charlotte is spending every minute she can spare with her father who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  The two are incredibly close and Charlotte feels beyond blessed to have the resources at her disposal to be able to spend so much time with her father.  Upon her most recent visit, she was attacked and shot after witnessing her father's murder.  Wounded and in shock, she quickly realizes that she can't go to the police or to her house--she recognized the man who pulled the trigger and he works for the man in charge of her father's company.  It gets even worse when she happens to see a news story naming her guilty of murdering her father.  Charlotte goes on the run and ends up in Mexico.

Matt survived five bullet wounds gained while fighting off insurgents targeting his special ops team in Afghanistan.  He is recently released from a veteran's hospital and has gone to Mexico to live with a friend and fellow former soldier while Matt painstakingly rebuilds his strength and decides what to do with the rest of his life.  Matt has always been a master planner, a strategist whose skills are equaled by very few and yet he finds himself floundering while recovering with plans that stretch a day or two at best.  Figuring out how to reshape his very uncertain future consumes his mind except when he is training and pushing his body through the pain of exercises that he used to do effortlessly.

Charlotte sees Matt and his broken body on the beach one afternoon and recognizes a fellow survivor,  She can't help silently cheering him on, fiercely hoping for his success.  When he finishes his excruciating exercises, he sees her and grins.  From that day on, Charlotte always sits on her steps and watches Matt as he slowly but surely rebuilds his body, strength, and abilities.  She cheers his successes and they begin to build a bond even though they have never spoken.  They exchange some simple gifts, but somehow just sharing their time together is something they both cherish.  One particularly cloudy afternoon, the ocean gets super choppy and Charlotte loses sight of Matt while he is swimming laps.  Frightened that something has happened to him, she rushes out to the quay to try to find him, while leaning on the rail it breaks sending Charlotte careening into the water.  Just as she is sure she won't be able to resurface, Matt swoops in and saves her. 

From that point on, Matt and Charlotte become inseparable.  Matt realizes that Charlotte has been a victim of violence, although he doesn't know why and he becomes determined to protect her.  Feeling grateful to finally have a plan again, a purpose again, he puts together a program to give Charlotte every advantage he can.  He is gently implacable and they share some really cute banter at times.  Charlotte is an artist who gets Matt to pose for her which he hates.  Matt is an ex-soldier who teaches Charlotte how to shoot a gun and has her practice using a video game which she hates.  When they are together, which is almost all the time, they slowly build on the bond that was forged on those afternoons until they create a relationship different from anything either of them has experienced before.  

Unfortunately while Charlotte and Matt are working together to keep Charlotte safe, there are forces back in the state planning on taking Charlotte out of the picture.  The man in charge of Court Industries is furious that his plans to gain control of the company and thus secure a multi-billion dollar deal with the government and hires an assassin to track down and kill Charlotte.  We get little vignettes throughout the book of this man's tracking of Charlotte and we see him getting closer and closer to her safe haven.  Wondering if all of Matt and Charlotte's efforts will be enough or if their love (and lives) will be cut short is rather alarming and the tension really ramps up at the end when all the players are finally in place for a final showdown.  

Overall, this is an amazing book that I will reread again in the future.  The scenes where Charlotte and Matt first see each other on the beach and we watch Matt rebuilding himself through to his saving of Charlotte after her fall in the water are my very favorite and I have been known to pull this book off the shelf just to read that section (they are so swoon-y) but this time when I started the book, I just couldn't put it down until I had read the entire thing.  Give this one a try, I really think you'll like it!

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