A cold, emotionally suppressed police detective and an overwhelmed young widowed mother come together when a pedophile-like menace threatens the town community, and find love again. Set in a small town, this novel revolves around a detective named Niall and his landlady, Rowan. When Niall's original landlady Enid dies, her granddaughter Rowan inherits the property and the cottage that Niall rents on it. She is a young widow with a six year old son and a four year old daughter. Niall is a masculine, cold-hearted, emotionally dead police detective.
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While Rowan battles with her in-laws over control over her children's upbringing, worries about money and faces the stress of single motherhood, Niall comes from a broken home - his father is in prison, his mother abandoned the kids, and Niall is not close to either of his brothers, both who are also in the police force. Consequently Niall has no intentions of getting close to anyone, although he is very attracted to the pretty Rowan, and Rowan for her part likes that her children have taken a shine to the policeman-tenant. She becomes wary however, as Niall tries to fight the growing feelings of affection that he has for Rowan and her family. He comes to dinners and cozy evenings at their house and plays with the children and becomes a friend to Rowan. Niall helps them around the house and meets Rowan's needs as a friend, and does the same for her children, but then panics - since he never wanted to get close to a family or family environment due to his traumatic childhood - and flakes out on Rowan and her kids by putting distance between them again, only to be dragged back by the unwitting, happy children. This constant push and pull makes Rowan very wary of acknowledging her attraction to the tall, handsome, playboy detective, especially since his strings of one night stands hint that he might be commitment phobic. Rowan also has issues with her own half-absent, often disinterested father, who was never around Rowan when she was growing up, isn't too interested in Rowan's kids, and constantly dates younger women while being separated from Rowan's mother. All of this disturbs Rowan, and makes her as wary of Niall and Niall is wary of getting close - although both of them feel intense sexual attraction. However, Rowan's marriage had been an abusive one, and she had never experienced pleasurable, respectful sex before - another thing that keeps her from becoming intimate with Niall.
However, things get serious when it turns out that there is a peeping Tom in the neighborhood, spying on boys. When the peeping Tom is spotted spying on Rowan's son, Niall's protective instincts - which led him to join the police in the first place - go into overdrive. He is surprised at how much he loves Rowan's son and wants to protect him. His investigations point out that Rowan's father-in-law, Glenn, is always missing at the time of the peeping Tom reports, and Niall knows that Glenn's son was abusive towards Rowan, a fact which Rowan revealed to Niall. Putting two and two together, Niall begins to watch Glenn's movements closely, and notices that Rowan's son is uncomfortable around his grandfather. Finally Niall catches Glenn redhanded as he tries to break into Rowan's home at night and steal her son away. It is traumatic for Rowan to see that her father-in-law is a pedophile after all, but it brings a sense of closure to her abusive marriage, and makes her realize how important Niall is to her. Likewise, the hunt for the peeping Tom pedophile made Niall realize how to love someone enough to want to do anything for them, and for the first time he experiences the security of feeling loved in return. Their barriers down and their past traumas on the way to healing, Niall and Rowan consummate their love, and begin a relationship together with the goal of getting married.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the depiction of a police detective as the hero of the story and I liked the small town setting.
Best scene in story:
When Niall takes time out to play basketball with Rowan's sons even though he is exhausted, irritated and just wants to go home.
Opinion about the main character:
Niall came across as the perfect embodiment of the values and personality of a great cop, and I liked that.