Next of Kin (Rebel Ridge #1) by Sharon Sala
Publication date: January 24, 2012
Beth Venable has seen too much. Witness to a major mob hit, she's placed in protective custody until the trial. But after her third safe house is riddled with bullets, she goes off-grid to save herself. What the FBI can't do, her kinfolk will.The beautiful but forbidding Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky welcome Beth back, dirt roads and rustic shacks a world apart from L.A. But her homecoming—even her blissful reunion with strong, silent Ryal Walker—is made bittersweet by the fight she's brought to the clan's doorstep. Hidden in a remote cabin with the man she's always wanted, Beth begins to dream of a new life: her old one. But after so long, with such dangers stalking her…impossible.But love can distill life down to its essence: an elixir of pure hope, nerve—and the will to survive.
Beth and Ryal were childhood sweethearts (okay they were young adults but it just doesn't have the same ring to it) ripped apart before they had a chance to build on their young love. Circumstances led them both to believe that the other had turned away and eventually they moved on with their lives. Beth was taken away by her parents to California and Ryal continued to live in Kentucky.
Fast forward a few years and Beth is a witness to a murder...a mob-related murder. Now her life is in danger and she doesn't know where to turn since it becomes apparent the FBI can't do the job. Beth does the only thing she can think of and turns to her uncle for assistance and he, in turn, enlists the aid of her family and Ryal is front and center in protecting his lost love.
Next of Kin is a nice romantic suspense read about forgiveness and second chances. Beth and Ryal are forced to address their hurts and fears and gain a chance to rebuild their relationship. Beth is also reunited with her estranged family, especially with her grandmother. Ms. Sala provides a fast-paced read that illustrates the importance of family above all else. Although the end is expected, Next of Kin made for a delightful afternoon read. The characters are realistic and the situations are all-too believable in this digital age. If you enjoy romantic suspense with a hopeful-ever-after ending, then this may be just the book for you.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."