In Badlands by Jill Sorenson, Owen Jackson is trying to break away from his past. A former convict, Owen was a hero during a San Diego earthquake when he helped rescue a group of strangers trapped under a collapsed interstate. Penny Sandoval was in that group and despite her knowledge of his past she still develops feelings for Owen. Owen can’t be with Penny. For one, he is now her security guard since her father is running for president and two, he doesn’t think he deserves Penny. When Owen’s brother kidnaps Penny, her young son, and Owen, the couple find themselves fighting for their lives. A daring escape into the California desert may save them but at what cost? Can they escape Owen’s brother? Will Owen and Penny finally give into their feelings for each other?
I am so happy that we finally get Penny and Owen’s book. I loved this couple in Aftershock. I kept hoping that they would find a way to be with each other.
I loved Penny’s character. In Aftershock, we get a glimpse of her becoming her own person outside of her family’s political expectations. In this book though, we finally get to see Penny standing on her own. Penny doesn’t care that Owen had a criminal past. She sees past what would be a road block for many people and sees what a caring person Owen is. When she finally stood up to her father at the end I almost did a happy dance.
Owen’s character has intrigued me since the moment he left the convicts to join Garrett in protecting the good group during the aftermath of the earthquake. I wondered why he joined the Aryan Brotherhood in prison when he seemed so ashamed for Penny to see his prison tattoos. In this book we finally find out the heart breaking reason why. We also get to learn a lot about his childhood and get an appreciation for how far he has come.