Have you ever felt that you weren’t good enough? If so, you have something in common with Piper Harland, the kick-ass Police Diver who has to make a choice to head home to help her brother or remain selfish yet safely away from the one man who broke her heart in the book In Too Deep by Tracey Alvarez.
Ben Harland has gotten into a bit of a fix. He has broken his ankle and his diving business is in debt. Unbeknownst to him, his sister who left the Island where they grew up nine years ago is coming home to help him at a personal cost. Piper loves her family and knows that she needs to help her brother. The fact that she is losing her battle with panic when diving with her squad for body recovery allows for her to take a holiday to see if she can recover herself and help family. Win-win right? Not quite. Her first love is back on the Island as well and Piper knows that she will face him and the past that she so neatly tucked away years ago.
What I loved about this book is that the scenario described above is just one facet of the real story. You get to meet several other colorful characters who I hope get a book of their own soon! Piper has deep seated issues about death and guilt and more importantly her own self-worth.
We get to experience her journey of heartache as she relives past events brought on by current situations and elation as certain parts of her life come back into focus. It is a journey of rediscovery and of finding the part of your soul that was once lost. Oh, and it has a great love story too!
Ryan Westlake aka “West” is a hot alpha male with his own issues. His are tied to Piper’s in a straightforward way and then again in other less obvious ways. Sure, she was the one that got away and that he pined for as she fled the Island. He has blamed her for running when things get rough. But sometimes it is easy to see in others your own shortcomings and even easier to hold grudges against others for their actions while you let yourself off the hook. Apologies nine years in the making become a place for new beginnings and real emotions are shared and exchanged.
Experiencing Piper and West’s story was fun, captivating and left me wondering about the rest of their story along with the others in the book. To be honest, I hadn’t read the synopsis of the book before picking it up so I was surprised to learn that the setting was in New Zealand. I was hesitant, not knowing much about this area of the world but was delighted in learning tidbits about the people, wildlife and traditions as the characters made their way through the story. It is refreshing to learn about another culture when you are not expecting it, especially when figuratively walking alongside natives!
I recommend this book to those that enjoy the tug and pull of love unrequited and those that love a bit of mystery and intrigue with their love stories. Tracey Alvarez has a unique voice and I look forward to reading more of her stories!
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About the Book:
She vowed never to return.
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.
She’s a risk he can’t take.
West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?
Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.