Goodreads ~ Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.
Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows - and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning.
Shelby is a young widow with a three-year-old daughter named Callie. Her husband had presumably drowned a couple months ago, though his body had never been found. They had led a wealthy lifestyle and Shelby is stunned to learn that it had all been a lie. In addition to Richard leaving her millions of dollars in debt, she finds stacks of money, fake IDs and a gun in a safe deposit box at the bank. She starts selling everything they own to pay off the debt. Once it's manageable, she heads home to her family in Tennessee.
Richard had kept her isolated from her family and friends so she starts to rebuild these relationships. She moves in with her parents, finds employment and meets Griff, who makes no secret that he is interested in her. Dangerous things start happening ... Griff is run off the road, a woman is found shot in a parking lot, etc. ... and Shelby can't help but think they have something to do with her.
I thought this was an interesting premise for a story and for the most part I liked it. It's is written in third person perspective. As a head's up, there is violence, adult activity and swearing (lots of F-bombs).
It's a long book (500+ pages) and could have been shorter and tighter if some of the rambling pointless gossipy conversations had been cut out. I imagine the author was trying to give us the flavour of hanging out in a beauty salon in Tennessee but I really didn't care that someone's second cousin had run off with someone else's fourth cousin once removed as it had no bearing on the story.
The Melody/Shelby rivalry storyline was pointless and had nothing to do with the main storyline and could have been deleted. Again, I think the author was trying to give us the flavour of the area.
When Shelby returns home to Tennessee, it's obvious she comes from a closed knit family. Yet when she met Richard, she let him isolate her from them. Everyone keeps asking her why she had let it happen and I had wondered the same (I thought her explanations were lame). She obviously wasn't happy with Richard yet she allowed herself to be under his will. Her brother is a cop ... all she had to do is call him and say she needed help.
At one point, Shelby wasn't able to openly text so she texted while her phone was in her pocket and the texts made sense ... is that even possible?
I liked the characters. Shelby had a great support system. I don't usually like kids in stories but I didn't find Callie annoying (and she plays a big part in this book). Maybe it's because she was well-behaved and cute all the time? Griff was probably my favourite character. He was a nice guy with a great sense of humour. For example, when he would take care of Callie, he would assure Shelby that all was well and that they were playing in traffic or running with scissors. The conversations between Griff and Shelby's cop brother were funny ... they were good friends but her brother was still being big brotherly about her.