It always amazes me how a great author can write any story credibly and with heart, and get the reader engaged with the sheer beauty of their words, but even more so when they successfully revisit a story that was treasured by so many, adding a lovely new chapter to that tale and making us fall in love with those characters all over again. The sequel to one of my all-time favourites, this is the story of what happens after that long-awaited happily-ever-after in life, after two people have reached a safe point in their relationship where their love for one another is no longer in question, and where their commitment to each other is no longer tested, even though life has a few more curveballs in store for them. For me personally, it was such a refreshing change of pace to immerse myself in a story where a beloved couple is not battling to stay together, but rather working as one as they show the world the true strength of their love. I was truly delighted with this book, and once again reminded why this author remains a constant on my list of favourites.
“You can’t hide me forever, Ian.”
After leaving Minneapolis behind and making a horse farm in northern Virginia their new home, we find Ian and Kate married and blissfully happy, but each of them quietly struggling with change. Their new life has not come without price, taking Kate away from a much-loved career and from everyone she has ever known, and forcing Ian to give up his involvement with the FBI cybercrimes task force. But regardless of how restless or professionally unfulfilling their days might have become, their bond and commitment to one another never waver, as they spend their days lovingly and playfully getting to know each other better.
Kate: I’m designing our Christmas card. How do you feel about Happy Holidays from the Bradshaws?
Kate: Wait. Scratch that. How about Happy Holidays from the Merricks!
Kate: Damn. Happy Holidays from the Smiths!
Kate: I’ve got it. Happy Holidays from Kate and Ian!
Kate: Shit. Happy Holidays from Will and Diane!
Kate: Happy Holidays—you’ll just have to guess who this card is from!
Ian: I’m glad you find this amusing.
Kate: I’ve embraced our anonymity. We can be anyone.
Ian: Now all I can think about is role-playing.
However, nothing they now have—a beautiful new home, a life of luxury—lessens their fear that they might have cheated fate, or the dread of losing one another. Ian struggles daily with feelings of guilt and regret for putting Kate in danger, for forcing her to live a life where she would never stop looking over her back, and where she would at times feel like a prisoner in her own home. Kate’s battle with her own self-reproach, on the other hand, stems from her sudden lack of purpose in her everyday life, torn between restlessness and gratefulness for all that life has given her. Naturally, it takes no time at all for a couple that loves each other so fiercely and so unconditionally to find an answer that would put their young marriage on an exciting, fun new path of endless possibilities where they tackle each challenge as a united front. And have a lot of fun doing it.
Kate: Phishing e-mail worked! No wonder you love going in the backdoor. The rush is incredible!
Ian: You just shattered my concentration in the best possible way. We should take a break. Seriously, like right now.
Kate: Can’t. I’m very busy. I had to beg my boss for this job and I don’t want to let him down.
Ian: Trust me. No part of your boss is “down” right now, and he’s totally cool with you taking a break.
Kate: Are you sexually harassing me?
Ian: I’M TRYING TO.
But as their enemy draws closer and closer and the threat to their safety grows, Ian and Kate must use all the resources at their disposal to beat a most relentless foe at their own game, knowing all along that the strength of their bond would always be their greatest strength.
This book left such a huge smile on my face, thankful that we got to spend more quality time with this delightful couple, and in awe of the way the story remained true to these two characters until the very end. An absolute must-read for all existing fans of Ian and Kate, and an added reason to pick up their story if one has not done so already.
"Sometimes I feel like there's the two of us, and then there's the rest of the world. Do you ever feel like that?
"All the time."