Title: Just Enough Light
Author Name & Publisher: A.J. Quinn (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 264 pgs
Kellen Ryan has taken the survival skills she learned on the streets and used them to create an elite search-and-rescue operation, as well as the first home she’s known in forever—a sanctuary in Haven, Colorado, high in the Rockies.
A small mountain town was the last place Harvard-educated Dr. Dana Kingston expected to find herself. Still, when she’s offered an opportunity to partner with Kellen’s operation and develop a medical triage center, Dana follows her heart. Dana falls hard and fast for the enigmatic Kellen. But she quickly realizes Kellen’s heart is as carefully guarded as her past, and breaking through will take time. Except time is the one thing they may not have, because a deadly threat has returned, and this time he plans to finish what he started.
Dana moves to Colorado to work as a doctor at a rescue centre and clinic. She wants to be her own person and make a difference . Kellen runs the rescue part of the service and once they meet she is never the same again. How can either of them ever go back once they make a connection that overwhelms them both. This is a really great read, full of raw emotion and depth and at times a realisation of how awful people can be to each other. We find out how someone can be at the worst place imaginable and yet find a way to deal with it and turn it around. We find out that families come in all shapes and sizes and that loving each other is what makes a family, not blood. Kellen was an amazing character, the strongest yet most vulnerable woman. Dana managed to get past all of her defences and the love between them was staggeringly beautiful. The love scenes were scorching but the most tender imaginable. There was no doubt that they were meant for each other.
As both women become one they have to deal with a shooter determined to kill Kellen. The impending threat makes this an edge-of-the-seat read that I never wanted to end. A well deserved 5 stars.
I have to say that I have enjoyed every AJ Quinn book that I’ve read, enough to keep an eye out for new books as they’re published. Here again, Quinn gives us a fast-paced, suspenseful plot and characters with depth. The book is a bit heavy though, as many of Quinn’s books are. She tends to address pretty difficult tragedies that her characters go through, and I actually find it amazing that she’s able to address them so well, without falling into the trap of wrapping everything up in a neat little bow by the end of the book. In this book, Kellen has a horrific past, bad enough that it still affects her to this day. She’s been able to open her heart and her home to two young girls who’ve suffered some of the same things she has. She’s tried to put roots down, despite not knowing how, and always being on the edge of running for safety, because in her life movement is safe. Into this semi-stable life comes Dana, who has her own issues, but the attraction between the two women is instant. I love the compassion and patience that Dana shows, not only with Kellen but with the girls as well. This is a group of people whose need for each other brings them closer and closer together. There are external forces coming to bear on Kellen, from her childhood and her more recent past, and all that pressure makes her want to run. Dana’s acceptance of who Kellen is allows Kellen to become more settled and sure of her footing. This was an exciting book, but again, there were a lot of weighty issues that became exposed through circumstances out of Kellen’s control. That may be too much for some readers to get through. My personal feeling was that it was a little much; after the reveal of Kellen’s past I wondered how she and Dana could make their relationship work because so much is unresolved for Kellen, and fear makes her flighty. Again, good job from the author of not allowing love to miraculously heal everything. These are issues that won’t easily go away, and I respect Quinn for not trying to wrap everything up in between the covers of the book. If you like romantic suspense, I’d definitely recommend this one.
AJ Quinn’s first novel, Hostage Moon, was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and a 2012 Alice B. Lavender Certificate winner. A transplant from Cuba to Toronto, she juggles the demands of a busy consulting practice with those of her first true love—storytelling—finding time to write mostly late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. An avid cyclist, scuba diver, and photographer, AJ’s always willing to travel at a moment’s notice.