Format Read: PDF converted to Kindle
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 2012
Buying Links: Amazon* | OmniLit | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
On a Texas night twelve years ago, Vic Vargas kissed Delaney West so deeply that she almost came apart. Later that same night, evil crept into Delaney’s room as she slept – and everything in their world fell apart. Now Vic is a rancher living a half-empty life punctuated by one-night stands and a strained relationship with his 11-year-old son.
Then Delaney returns to San Julio, and the past comes rushing back… along with the dark echoes of that night so long ago. Livestock are dying. Some say coyote, but others whisper another darker word. Chupacabra. Bloodsucker.
The past hasn’t disappeared – nor has the instinctive desire that snaps and crackles between Delaney and Vic. And as those emotions ignite, so does the evil that hibernated for the last twelve years. The evil that waited for Delaney to return to San Julio… and to Vic Vargas.
This story pulled me in right from the first page. The mystery of the chupacabra, the past love shared by Delaney and Vic, Vic's struggle to connect with his son, there was a lot to keep me engrossed. Then, there was a WTF scene involving Delaney, sleepwalking, and Vic that just lost me. I almost DNF'ed the book; the scene was unbelievable and unnecessary. Yes, it ramped up the tension between Delaney and Vic but they had a whole state's worth of tension; this was just lazy writing and brought up all sorts of consent issues.
Delaney has returned home after running away twelve years before. She and Vic were supposed to elope but he failed to show, leaving her alone in the woods very late at night. The next day she goes to see him and what she finds only adds to her feeling of betrayal. She leaves town but spends the next twelve years suffering from nightmares, sleepwalking, and difficulty having sex.
Vic never understood why Delaney left without a word, after telling her parents a lie about him. He's moved on, owns a bar and a ranch, and has an eleven year old son who only recently came to live with him. He's angry at Delaney and when she arrives back in town at the same time the chupacabra arrives, he decides he needs to get her out of his system by having sex. Of course, that doesn't work and he's rather insulting about it when he first suggests it. (Has it ever worked, in a book or in real life? Such a stupid move.)
As the townspeople struggle to find the chupacabra responsible for the animal killings, as Vic struggles with connecting with his son, and Delaney struggles with her sleepwalking and nightmares, I struggled with some WTFery, and near the end, a too-stupid-to-live moment involving Delaney and a murderer. A word of advice - when being chased by a murderer, use the cell phone in your hand to call 911, NOT your lover. I understand why Ramirez did it, it brought their romance full circle but really, Delaney deserved to die for that bone-headed move. Yes, I have a mean streak. :P
And yet...I couldn't put the book down. It held me. I had two guesses as to the person behind the chupacabra mystery and one of them was actually right! :D The mystery, the love story, the story with Vic's son Zach, all kept me engaged and reading. I had to know what happened. Many of their problems, with each other and with others in their lives, could have been solved or prevented with communication. As the story goes along, they figure that out and discover too that some secrets shouldn't be kept.
Despite my issues with the book I enjoyed reading it and I am impressed that Ramirez kept me reading even when I wanted to throw my kindle across the room. She wove a fascinating story with enjoyable characters. I'll read her again.