Synopsis: It was supposed to be a summer we’d never forget.
Instead, everything was stolen from me.
The best friend who was more like a sister. The innocent way I looked at life.
Leaving me with only unanswered questions.
Returning to the island is the second chance I didn’t know I needed.
And Hunter is the surprise that knocks me sideways.
There’s a hurt in him that calls to my own.
A strength I find in sharing our scars.
Igniting a spark that turns to flame.
But someone isn’t happy about the world I’m building for myself.
And nothing will stop them from tearing it all apart…
Beneath the Wreckage (Wrecked #5) by Catherine Cowles.
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Publisher: Pagesmith LLC
Genre: Romance, Suspense
Purchase on: Amazon,
Add to: Goodreads
TW: PTSD, panic attacks, loss of a loved one, gunshot injury recovery, Alzheimer’s, fires, violence, violent threats, murder
A beautiful, small-town love story between two people damaged by their pasts finding healing and love in a suspenseful but gorgeously emotional romance.
This book is a standalone in the Wrecked series, and while you can read it as a standalone, beware of spoilers for earlier books in the series.
Piper is a young woman who used to vacation at Anchor Island with her family and her best friend. They were as close as sisters and dreamed of one day owning the holiday cabins that they always stayed in, but life took a traumatic turn the summer that they were 14 when Jennifer went missing and was never found, leaving Piper traumatized and devastated. It’s now ten years later and Piper is back on Anchor Island, the brand new owner of the Whispering Falls Lodge & Resort, and she is determined to renovate the property and make it just like she always dreamed.
Hunter is the younger brother of Ford – the hero of book #1. He’s been a background character in previous books, and we’ve seen him endure a lot and he is still dealing with it all. After suffering a bad injury he’s looking forward to getting back to work in his construction business, especially because his new client has hired him for the job he’s always wanted – renovating and restoring Whispering Falls.
Hunter and Piper form an easy working relationship that very quickly becomes a friendship. Day after day they work side by side, they open up to each other and find comfort and a strong connection with each other. There’s also a healthy dose of attraction, but Hunter has a rule never to date a client so he does his best to keep things professional.
Hell. The last thing I needed was the knowledge that this attraction was two-sided. But it was more than attraction. It was lust mixed with a healthy dose of understanding. And it packed a potent punch.
But Piper’s dream is threatened when she seems to become the target of somebody who wants her out. And when the threats become dangerous, Hunter goes full-on protective alpha, moving in to keep an eye on things, and creating the perfect opportunity for everything to change.
“There’s nothing about you I’d ever regret.” Screw my rules. The fact that we worked together. Practically lived together. The world around us could burn, and I wouldn’t give a damn. Just as long as Piper was in my arms.
OMG, I love this romance! Hunter and Piper are so perfect for each other. Everything between them is easy and natural, from their work together, to walks along the beach, laughs, meaningful conversations, and comforting hugs, it’s all underpinned by this wonderfully building chemistry, and when they finally go there, it’s so gorgeous! There’s no angst or drama, they just follow their hearts, and it feels like a natural development of everything that is already between them. It’s the best kind of love story, and I reveled in every moment of it.
“I don’t want to run from you.” He was the first person I’d truly wanted to fight for. To resist the urge to pull away from.
“Then you won’t. I’ll help you stay.”
Hunter is all in, and it’s gorgeous to see, but Piper has grown up holding herself back from getting close to anybody. She fiercely protects her heart, and she has some issues to work through to finally find the strength to let down her walls and truly accept Hunter into her life.
It was a special kind of torture to want something so badly it physically hurt. And to be terrified of it at the same time.
Meanwhile, the threats against Piper are becoming more and more dangerous, and there’s a thread of suspense running through the book that kept me on edge the whole time I was reading. I was swooning and loving the romance, but had this feeling that something was coming. I was madly theorizing trying to figure out what was going on, who the bad guy was, and their motivations and the emotional reveal was so well done – surprising, but also not surprising, and really well written. It makes you look back on the book and piece everything together all over again, and it’s resolved well.
And through it all, Hunter is a champ. He’s there for Piper without question, holding strong and baring his heart even when she struggles to do the same for him. He’s dealing with his own issues, but he’s strong for her, and together they work to break through their walls, overcome their demons and find their HEA.
“You don’t need to be wrapped up in my mess.”
“Your mess is exactly where I want to be.”
“I love you … You’re loved. And I’m not going anywhere.”
The characters from the previous books all appear, and the scenes with them all are just magic. This crew is a chosen family, and the way they show up for each other and have each other’s backs without question is really gorgeous.
I loved this book. It’s sweet, swoony, and emotional with an intriguing mystery/suspense storyline that kept me on my toes. Hunter and Piper are wonderful characters, and that epilogue finished off everything beautifully.
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