His Secret Past

His Secret Past - Katie Reus Alexis Baptiste, a devoted single mom to her 5-year-old son Jonathan lives quietly in a small town in North Carolina. Alexis will soon marry Michael, a wealthy area businessman who loves her and treats Jonathan like his own son. While passion is lacking in their relationship Alexis is settled with her decision, Michael offers security, he is dependable and caring and will make a good life for her and Jonathan. It’s evident however, that Alexis Baptiste’s heart belongs to another man, Jonathan’s father, Hunter Cassidy, even though she believes he abandoned her and broke her heart 6 years earlier. Alexis has no idea where Hunter is or if he is alive.

An ex-DEA agent Hunter has been working undercover for 6 long years in the in the jungles of South America. He didn’t choose this undercover mission, it wasn’t sanctioned by the DEA. Hunter was blackmailed by Tom Davis, a traitorous rogue CIA spook. Reus, can really write a nasty antoginist and Tom Davis as well as his associates are major nasties! Hunter cultivated a role as an international arms dealer, and used his contacts to infiltrate a drug kingpins inner circle and steal secrets regarding Davis’ dealings that will expose him. That’s if Hunter can get the information into credible hands before Davis stops him, permanently. However, that’s not all, Davis knows what Alexis means to Hunter and if Davis can get to her before Hunter he will hold the trump card. Hunter Cassidy has no idea he is the father of a 5-year-old son. With the bad guys in hot pursuit, Hunter leaves Central America and heads to North Carolina, and the woman he left holding his heart 6 years ago.

In Hunter Katie Reus crafts a seasoned, highly trained agent who is extremely conflicted about what he has had to do to survive and protect Alexis from Tom Davis’ evil. This hero’s shame and self loathing is quite palpable, even though he wants Alexis desperately but he feels he isn’t worthy and given what has happened between them is fully aware he will never be welcome in her life again. One of the many things I loved about this story is that Hunter realizes immediately after seeing his son for the first time that Jonathan is his. He does the math and the boy looks like him. So, it’s a double whammy, not only is his lost love engaged to another man who is obviously good to her, Hunter feels he has no place in his son’s life. Even worse, deadly danger is coming to Alexis and Jonathan’s door, and it’s his fault.

Alexis’ world tips on it’s axis when she sees Hunter sitting in a car on the street outside the studio where she has attended a final bridal gown fitting. (I know, ironic.) She refuses to acknowledge Hunter, harboring a seething anger and distrust of the man who hurt her so badly. However, when her an her son’s lives are threatened and it is apparent Hunter is the only man capable of protecting her and Jonathan, she is forced to let him back in her life.

Brace yourself! His Secret Past, is action packed and very fast paced with a number of surprises in store. Reus has crafted a plot full of treachery and corruption that connects to the highest levels of government.

What impressed me most about this story is the characterization and primary role given to Jonathan. His initial shyness and wonder at meeting his real father for the first time, as well as how he adapts to the change in his life and danger unfolding around him was so realistic. It is especially poignant to see Jonathan’s relationship with Hunter grow and blossom into a special connection. Reus doesn’t hold back in integrating Jonathan into a life and death kidnap scene and harrowing escape. There are a number of nail-biting sequences in this story that showed the hero’s bravery and lethal defense skills. There are kill scenes incorporated into the storyline but the child is spared that visual.

Alexis stands out as a remarkable, brave woman who does what she must to protect her son. Further, I liked how once she understood what Hunter had endured she accepted his past and realized that he did what he had to do to protect her when he left.

I also liked Michael, who proves to be one of the good guys by helping Alexis and Hunter as best he can. While I felt sorry that he didn’t get the woman he loved, the author does give closure to his story. ;)

His Secret Past offers a multi-layered romantic suspense with a double barreled lovers reacquainted and secret baby themes. The sensuality is light but the author treats readers to a powerful, dominating hero who is matched with an equally strong woman who demonstrates surprising resourcefulness under the worst of circumstances. I’ve read a number of Katie Reus books now, and I have to say this one is my favorite.

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.