Darcy St. James was recently contacted by her former journalistic partner, Abby Walsh, to join her on an Alaskan cruise ship to investigate a case Abby is working on. Now a sports journalist, Darcy hasn’t worked as an investigative reporter in years, but her “thrill of the chase” instincts kick in and she can’t resist the offer. Her assignment is to go undercover as an adventure journalist by accompanying wealthy travelers on luxury adventure excursions at each port.
When Darcy arrives on the cruise ship, she is supposed to meet Abby for a briefing about the case, but Abby never shows up. None of the other staff seem concerned and claim employees often take off without warning, impulsively deciding they can’t handle the job. But Darcy knows Abby wouldn’t just leave, and wonders if her friend’s disappearance is linked to the case they’re working on.
Determined to continue her assignment, even though she doesn’t know exactly what it entails, Darcy then discovers that the team leader of the luxury excursions is none other than Gage McKenna --- the Gage McKenna she found herself falling for last summer when she was working on a story in Yancey, the Gage she hoped would call but never did. She is a little annoyed he’s there and can’t afford the distraction, yet she can’t deny how her heart beats a little faster in his presence.
"Like the two before it, STRANDED delivers a hefty dose of mystery, adventure, suspense and romance. The romantic tension between Gage and Darcy is fun and entertaining, and their chemistry is palpable."
Gage is not happy to see Darcy St. James again. Last summer, he saw how she would go to any lengths to cover a story. He has fallen for his share of ambitious women and wants nothing to do with this one. At least, that’s what he’s trying to tell himself. But his heart isn’t listening.
Despite their differences, Gage and Darcy end up working together to unravel the mystery of Abby’s disappearance, and they find themselves in the middle of a sinister scheme. They learn there have been several women who have suddenly disappeared from Alaskan cruise ships in the last couple of years. As Darcy and Gage get closer to the truth, they also get closer to admitting their feelings for each other. But someone seems to have uncovered Darcy’s cover. Will Gage be able to prevent Darcy from being the next one to vanish?
Author Dani Pettrey takes readers back to the beautiful state of Alaska with her third book in the Alaskan Courage series. Like the two before it, STRANDED delivers a hefty dose of mystery, adventure, suspense and romance. The romantic tension between Gage and Darcy is fun and entertaining, and their chemistry is palpable.
Although not necessary, you may want to read the books in order to get a sense of flow with the characters. All five of the McKenna siblings, upon whom the series is based, have distinct personalities. Pettrey is skilled in creating compelling characters with strong motivations. Readers saw it with Cole and Bailey in SUBMERGED, with Piper and Landon in SHATTERED, and now with Gage and Darcy in STRANDED.
As for the religious component, Darcy is a Christian who left her last investigative reporting position because it compromised her beliefs. Gage is struggling with believing in a God who would allow his son to die in his arms. This faith element was handled with sensitivity and excellence. The reason for Gage’s unbelief is realistic. One nice touch with Darcy is her fear of the water and how it plays into an event that happened when she was young. This occurrence plays a spiritual part in why Darcy is so fearful of not finding Abby before it’s too late.
A small subplot indicates that the fourth book in the Alaskan Courage series, SILENCED, due out in 2014, will focus on the emerging romance between sister Kayden and the mysterious Jake. Pettrey is quickly proving herself as a first-rate author, and if you’re a fan of romantic suspense, she will likely assume a place on your “favorite” list.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on October 16, 2013