A good premise utterly botched by terrible writing.
Human trafficking is a very relevant topic, and I picked up this book for review thinking that it seemed like an interesting theme for a romance; a human trafficking victim who falls in love with a detective investigating the case.
At least, that's what the Amazon blurb led me to believe.
I really should have paid attention to the other reviews. This book is a hot mess of completely unbelievable events, most of them cause by the heroine being TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). I mean, seriously, who goes to the home of someone whose last name you don't even know, and you don't have the actual address, just complicated directions? Frankly, it's no surprise that Isabella's casual acquaintance turned out to be working for a human trafficking ring.
After being drugged and kept in a seedy motel for a few days, Isabella manages to escape her captors just as she is about to be delivered to her buyer. Running away through woods, she finds a house with a light on in the window and instead of doing the sensible thing of knocking at the door and begging for help, she decides to pick the lock instead, despite having no idea of how to pick locks, and she actually manages it.
With her bra underwire.
Now, it's possible that there are some superspies out there who can pick locks with bra underwires, but Isabella ain't no Black Widow, so this is a completely unbelievable plot point. Not quite as unbelievable as the fact that the house she breaks into belongs to not only a hunky guy (bet you saw that one coming) but he is also... a detective who investigates human trafficking.
At this point my suspension of disbelief got on a horse and rode off into the sunset laughing, I'm afraid. I read through the rest of the book with a mounting sense of WTF going on. From Wyatt (our hero) behaving like a total ass to Isabella and treating her like a suspect instead of the victim she quite clearly is, to police cars being stolen and not able to be found because apparently they don't have GPS, to a detective on the case being murdered and then in the very next chapter turning up alive at his desk... I'm not even kidding.
The plot is completely unbelievable. Isabella claims to not even know what human sex trafficking is. She is a grade school teacher, not a child! Anyone who reads the newspapers knows what it is. And the dialogue is as stilted and unrealistic as the plot... the following example had me rolling my eyes, after Wyatt took Isabella to his log cabin, (for Safety Reasons obviously, and nothing to do with the fact that he'd already had unprotected sex with a trafficking victim less than 24 hours after meeting her)
"It's - it's so majestic, yet so homey. I love it! Kind of a mix of rugged and safe, like you."
NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT. NOBODY.
I'd tell you more about the TSTL heroine, but the fact that the author saw fit to have her stuck braless for the entire story because Wyatt burned her clothes and his sister's didn't fit her is infuriating me too much. There were constant prurient references to her nipples poking through her shirt... but it doesn't occur to her to ask ANYONE to buy her a bra.
Wyatt's such a prize, too. I mean. Really. Human trafficking detective + human trafficking victim = handle with kid gloves, right?
Not so much. After her ordeal, Isabella very wisely takes a shower, puts on a bathrobe - all she can find to wear - and falls asleep in his bed. He comes to check on her, pervs on the fact that he can see she doesn't have any underwear on and then... wait for it...
GETS INTO BED WITH HER.
Even if she WASN'T a victim and he wasn't a detective, this is horrific and predatory behavior. But just imagine how someone who had been through that ordeal would feel, waking up in bed with a strange man???
No amount of bleach will ever get this absurd nonsense out of my brain. The author needs to talk to some actual police officers about how human trafficking victims and their cases are handled, not make up this offensive bullshit. One star, and at that, I'm being quite generous.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through ReadingAlley.