Nom de Plume Rating: ★★★★★
Reading Time: 5 minutes
*FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of Girl in the Water from Dana Marton in exchange for an honest review. I have in no way been influenced by the author and/or publisher’s generosity. You can’t fake these stars, baby!
He doesn’t mind breaking rules, just never his own. Rule #1: You don’t seduce the woman you protect.
After the death of his wife and twin sons, Army vet Ian Slaney is a shadow of his former self, on the path of self-destruction. Only his best friend’s disappearance pulls Ian back from the ledge. When he rushes to help, he discovers that his friend was murdered. The single lead in the case is also the single biggest obstacle–Daniela, a mysterious beauty very much in need of protection, with a host of secrets hidden in her past. He needs her help as much as she needs his. But as the two of them track down clues and try to untangle an impossible case, they draw the attention of all the wrong people.
Ian wants the murderers. Daniela wants Ian to acknowledge the hot sparks of passion between them. But convincing Ian to set aside his protective instincts proves more difficult than teaching a water buffalo to tap dance.
First Line:“A dozen jacundás flopped in a palm frond basket next to the missionary, the small fish unappreciative of their role in the lesson on how Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men.”
Muddy pasts, tainted futures, inexplicable murders. Girl in the Water is absolutely irresistible.
Girl in the Water is set in the Amazon. Umm, okay that’s worth 5 stars in itself. You don’t need to read the rest of this review, just scroll down and purchase it. But really.
This is romantic suspense done RIGHT, people!
We are first introduced to Ian Slaney. He is a drunken idiot–albeit a sexy one. He’s belligerent, barbaric and aggressive. My kind of hubba hubba! *eyebrow waggle*
Ian has succumbed to his inner demons after losing his wife and kids while serving in Afghanistan. He harbors all the blame for their deaths; him not being there to protect them.
Oh, sweet man. This is where I started to cry inside. What page are we on? Page three? 😭
We are then introduced to Daniela our wounded heroine. She is a victim of sex trafficking and is fortunately saved by a man who treats her well, doesn’t abuse her and she cooks and cleans from him. Well, until he’s murdered.
This man happened to be Ian’s best friend and before his death he called Ian for help. Snort. Except Ian only arrives too late–always too late–and his friend is dead. Talk about S.O.S. gone wrong.
Now Ian is stuck with this eighteen year old woman and a dead man. Daniela is freaking out because she doesn’t want to go back to her old life. Ian is freaking out because he has no idea who killed his friend!
Fast forwarding four years, we re-meet Ian and Daniela after their first encounter. Ian is not an aggressive drunk anymore (so it appears) and Daniela has graduated college. They’re living their own lives until a seven month old baby goes missing in the Amazon.
So–you guessed it–Daniela, with her experience in Brazil is naturally the best option to help! Ian, too, is brought back to the Amazon to reopen bad juju from his past.
I have to say, this love story is heart wrenching. Unwilling love. Sacrifice for a greater cause. These two are fighting against time and Ian is fighting his emotions, but it’s inevitable that they need each other..
He loved her. His love had been there in the way he looked at her, in the million things he did for her, in the tone of his voice when he talked to her. In that single, spectacular kiss they’d shared. He will come back.
Don’t be delusional, girlfriend! Ian is a runner, and what do runners do? Run.
Daniela’s shift is the most powerful in this book. She has to relive her past as she tries to help others escape from that same reality. Ian, too, transforms but Daniela’s story has the strongest undercurrent, drawing me in. Stuff like this actually happens to people. Her story is so…raw…unforgiving.
Ian shows Daniela what love is and saves her (although she does the saving in my opinion). But GAAWD it took him long enough to get there!
“I love you,” she said again. He closed his eyes.
And then he was off his bed. And then he was shrugging into his jeans, grabbing his sneakers, and then he was out the door.
Running away once again.
Once a runner, always a runner.
What happened to Ian’s friend? The seven month old? We all know Daniela and Ian are destined for failure, but somehow, someway Dana Marton whips out her brilliance and gives us that HEA we crave.
Girl in the Water is an unforgettable tale of adventure, mystery and romance. Unconventional comrades become friends, then lovers. They teach each other to forgive and relearn how to love–and trust.
Yes, yes, one thousand times yes.