Raina has tried to forget her past, forget the pain, but when she finds herself staring straight into the fury blazing in her ex-boyfriend’s eyes, her dark past comes rushing back. Furious with herself for actually having chosen someone like her father, she uses that anger to her advantage and fights for her life…and for her future that she prays will involve the man she can’t seem to get out of her head. Kas is a natural leader, a fierce fighter, the type of man you send in when you need to get the job done. He is a courageous hero who is used to risking his own life to save others, but can he save the one who has captured his heart from her horrific past and the men who are hell-bent on destroying her? As Kas and Raina try to navigate through the twists and turns of a deviously intelligent human trafficking group, they find solace in each other’s arms. Can they infiltrate the trafficker’s tight ring, saving the innocent lives from imminent danger before it’s too late?
Healing Rain (The Rain Trilogy #2)
Shattered when Raina runs after his marriage proposal, Kas is hell-bent to find her and bring her home, where she belongs. He will bend every law necessary to do so, willing to do anything to protect Raina from her demons and the men who haunt her, going as far as placing his career and life on the line to save hers. Raina will give up everything she has worked so hard to achieve, even flee the country to keep Kas from the wrath and powerful reach of her abusive father.
Finally able to put her harrowing past to rest, Raina looks forward to her future with Kas, but the Ghost has other plans. As the FBI team gets closer to taking down the largest human trafficking ring in the modern world, the Ghost begins a wicked game, making Raina the pawn and the target. Never before encountering a worthy adversary, he’s fascinated by Raina and is enjoying the refreshing challenge of her intellect.
The danger ignites to a blazing new level, and Kas struggles between the need to finally exorcise the Ghost and his need to protect his wife. Tension mounts as an internal battle wages, tormenting Kas as he watches Raina put her all into taking down the man responsible for horrific sex slavery and gruesome deaths. When a new player takes control, Jefferson orders the end of the Ghost’s game with Raina, which results in one final, devastating act, leaving Kas desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to save her…by whatever means necessary.
Kas and Raina are characters that felt very real to me from the first page. I adored how Karen-Anne Stewart introduced us to these characters after they had already been aquainted, and whose troubles had already started and been a source of worry to the other. At first I thought I had started reading the second book instead of the first, feeling as though I was missing something, but within a few pages I understood the authors intent and absolutely loved entering the book right at the centre of the action. I loved guessing at who the characters were and what they meant to each other, and as little tidbits were given to us whilst we see Kas waiting in the hospital for news on Raina, I felt the added drama and suspense creep into the story because of this clever way of starting the story.
The back-story of this book was very much focused on abuse in many different settings, and the struggles that victims have to face to overcome their demons and put their trust in someone else. Raina was a fantastic heroine for this story. She was strong yet vulnerable and it made the burning romance between her and Kas have an almost ill-fated kind of foreshadowing, but one that intrigued and pulled you in, rather than making you feel scared for them. The author did a fantastic job at making their happy ending seem only just out of reach, but making us feel so sure of Kas’ character that we know without a doubt that he would fight to the very end to call Raina his own, and to protect her from her horrific past. I can’t even express how much I loved their relationship, how sweet it was, how loving and how much they both cherished their time together. Whenever I think of Kas and Raina now I always smile as the beauty and utter devotion they showed to each other, even before their relationship became romantic, just blew me away. Although I admit I often swoon at the bad-boys with a heart of gold, Kas was up there on his own level as such a perfect gentleman and being so genuine and supportive without being too much of an alpha-male unless it came to Raina’s safety.
Raina’s past was heartbreaking and to see the struggle she faced to put that past behind her really hit home the message of parental abuse. It reminds us that not everything is as it seems, and even the most seemingly loving of parents may hide a dark secret. The ending of this book just made the situation seem more real and showed the harsh reality of how abusers isolate their victims so that they have nowhere and no one to run to.
The sex trade storyline was one that had me so angry, which just highlights how brilliantly Karen-Anne Stewart wrote this story. It was heartbreakingly realistic and gave me a real resolve to one day work with victims of sex-trafficking, which is something I wanted to do when I was at university. I always love the nitty gritty psychological issues that are hinted at throughout these kind of stories and the author entwined these so well within the story, pacing the development of Raina’s trust in telling her secrets to Kas just perfectly. I liked that there were some backward steps in her recovery process, and how not everything worked out the second after she began to open up. She had relapses and fell back into old patterns due to her fear, something that we see in the last chapter of this book. It was so well done that I felt Raina’s pain as a real person, rather than her just being a character. I was so glad that her recovery will take a more realistic route, with improvements and lapses, just as any recovery road takes.
This was an absolute stunner of a book. I adored every second of it, and was left with a warm feeling inside as I added the next two books in the series to my wish list (hurry up pay-day!). The characters will have to fight to get their happy ending, but I have no doubt that it will be a beautiful and heart-felt fight nonetheless.