Badlands- Jill Sorenson

Badlands
Jill Sorenson
Harlequin HQN, Dec 31 2013, $7.99
ISBN 9780373778348

The 8.5 earthquake that devastated San Diego trapped eight months pregnant Penny Sandoval along with convict Owen Jackson. She went into labor and he delivered the baby and kept mother and child safe until help arrived (see Aftershock). Her grateful father Jorge used his political connections to get Owen free and subsequently hired him as a security specialist.

Five years later at the San Diego Convention Center, Jorge is about to become the first Hispanic-American nominated by a major party as their presidential candidate. The honor meant Secret Service so Owen is relegated to babysitting Penny and her child Cruz. However, as Penny is about to introduce her mother to the Republican Party delegates, an alarm goes off. Owen’s convict brother Shane paying off a debt to the Aryan Brotherhood and his nastier partner Dirk incapacitate the bodyguard with a taser. They take injured Owen with them as they kidnap the single mom and her son. Driving into the Badlands, they demand two million in ransom delivered by her father. In spite of his sibling being one of the kidnappers, Owen knows they must escape into the barren wilderness if they are to survive as Dirk will never let them go after he completes his hidden agenda mission.

The third Afterfall romantic suspense (See Freefall) is an action-packed novel that never slows down from the moment the abduction occurs until the final confrontation. Fast-paced throughout, the key to this taut thriller is that survival supersedes love as Owen risks his life to protect the mother and son he cherishes, and Penny likewise to keep Cruz safe. Readers will appreciate the harrowing trek in the Badlands.

Harriet Klausner

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