Henley Fredrikson has done his best to distance himself from his father and his involvement in the government, but that doesn’t stop people from assuming Henley has some sort of influence. So when he’s kidnapped by radical militants, it’s assumed that Henley’s father will automatically capitulate to their demands. But when things don’t go as planned, Henley finds himself rescued by undercover cop, Lorenzo Ferretti.
Lorenzo has been a cop a long time and it’s starting to take its toll. He’s happy he managed to rescue the too young Henley, but doing so may have ended his career. Now he’s at a crossroads, struggling to figure out what happens next, when Henley shows up at his remote cabin. Lorenzo thinks he’s too old and too damaged for Henley and tries to reject him, but neither man can deny their attraction to the other. But when distance separates them and tragedy occurs, Lorenzo and Henley will have to decide if they actually have a future together.
Refuge was an enjoyable, if somewhat uneven, book about rescue, redemption, and learning to embrace your own path in life. Henley and Lorenzo are both interesting characters and while I didn’t always believe in their romance, they at least kept me engaged. There were times the overall plot felt awkward or too formulated for comfort, but the author did a good job with the pacing. Trigger warning — there is an animal that does die (peacefully) on page, so if that’s issue for you, considered yourself warned.
Henley is the more well developed and natural of the two main protagonists and while both men read as multi-dimensional, Henley read as the more complete and experienced real character growth. Lorenzo, at least during conversations, seems stiffer and less relaxed than Henley. I wouldn’t say he was a stock caricature, but he just doesn’t have the kind of depth that we see in Henley.
The overall plot to Refuge is pretty predictable and doesn’t offer much by way of originality. It just has a rote, formulaic structure to it and while that’s hardly the end of the world, I found myself wanting something different. The pacing is strong despite this and the story moves well. The romance between Henley and Lorenzo reads as less about passion and more about convenience. It’s almost as if “Hey I’m here, you’re here. You saved my life and I like your dogs. Let’s get together” was the overall motivation.
Refuge has a balance of good and bad issues and while there isn’t a lot of wow factor here, the book was still a decent read. It’s one of those stories that you pick up on a rainy day and pass some time with. And while it wasn’t terribly memorable, I suspect most readers will still find something to enjoy here.