Killian has not had an easy life, growing up with a violent, murderous, and abusive father — who also happens to be the chief of police. When Killian is kidnapped by Tony, a local crime lord, it is just another in a string of horrible events to befall him. Tony wants to know what happened to his missing daughter and he figures Killian’s dad will actually make an effort to find her if he threatens Killian’s life. However, as Killian has known all along, his father doesn’t care enough about him to even bother. So Killian is stuck in a warehouse with Tony’s men, locked up and occasionally beaten. The only bright side is one of his captors, Shepherd, who shows the tiniest bit of humanity. Killian figures maybe if he can ingratiate himself to Shepherd, he could have an ally, and as the days pass, the men find a tentative connection.
Killian and Shepherd eventually manage escape the warehouse and go on the run from both Tony and Killian’s father. As they get to know one another, Killian learns more about Shepherd’s troubled past and how much he want to change. Killian begins to trust Shepherd and realize that the man truly will protect him. More than that, Shepherd wants to be a new man and get off the path he was forced upon as a child. The guys begin to fall for one another and share strength from each other. Both Killian and Shepherd have had terrible pasts and done things they are not proud of, but they also believe in one another and their desires to move forward. But with a target on their backs from more than one source, Killian and Shepherd can’t escape quietly. Now they must fight to bring down the bad guys or risk losing everything.
Hurray! A new Alice Winters book is always a cause for celebration and Just My Luck has quickly become one of my favorites. One thing I love about Winters’ writing is her sense of humor and great banter between the characters, and we definitely get that here. But I felt like this story is really so nicely balanced between that lightness and a more intense and exciting suspense plot. We know from early on that Killian’s dad is a major bad guy, that Killian knows more about the situation with Tony and his daughter than he is letting on, and that both Killian and Shepherd have secrets. As the story develops, we slowly learn more about all of these issues and I found it just fascinating. Winters reveals just the right amount of the information at the right time, little breadcrumbs leading to the big reveals. I was completely captivated here as I followed along, waiting for each new bit of information and each revelation. I think this story has just perfect balance between the humor and the suspense, and the pacing is great with some calm, quiet moments interspersed with more tense times.
Winters writes such great chemistry between her characters and Killian and Shepherd are no exception. I loved the slow development of things between them as it becomes clear that there is more to Shepherd than just one of Tony’s thugs. Yes, he has a very violent past and has done many despicable things, and Killian has had his own share of mistakes. But both men are trying to move forward, to be better men and live quiet, peaceful lives. So you aren’t going to get squeaky clean heroes here, but Winters made me believe in the inherent goodness in each of them and I enjoyed watching them find their redemption. I also love the way these guys support one another. They both live with guilt and regret, and the love and acceptance they give one another goes a long way to helping them heal.
Just My Luck combines all my favorite things about Alice Winter’s writing. It is funny and exciting and has a fascinating suspense plot, with two really engaging characters. Definitely check this one out.