Series: Rocky Mountain K9 Unit #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 6th 2018
Genres: Crime Drama, Small Town
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
He's always been a haven:For the lost. The sick. The injured.But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he'll do more than heal her battered spirit―he'll defend her with his life.
K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe's very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he's never been in love.
Until he meets Sarah Clifton's haunted eyes. Until he realizes he'll do anything to save her.
All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there's no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth...but he'd never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah's finally ready to face whatever comes her way.
It's time to take a stand.
Survive the Night suffered from a case of insta-love and a few other plot flaws but can be forgiven since Otto and Sarah are adorable and the last third of the story is full of tension that you can easily forget about the nit-picking.
Monroe’s favorite K9 Officers Theo, Hugh and Otto are now very aware that there is something wrong whenever Theo’s girlfriend Jules has a “old friend” suddenly show up in town. And suddenly Sarah Clifton has shown up for a visit, just as the rest of Monroe has bugged out for the winter, acting quite jumpy. Neither Jules nor Grace are willing to give up the name of the name sending these women to Monroe, nor any information about the newest arrival in town.
Sarah (formerly Alice) is on the run from her brother, the head of a crime family who has kept Sarah all but locked in a tower like a princess in a fairy tale, until he has decided to sell her off to a dragon. A dragon in the from of the current head of the Javanovich crime family, a man known for brutalizing women.
Sarah is just so happy to be away from her brother and free of his grasp, she is even happy stocking shelves at Grady’s store. Sarah is also fascinated by Officer Otto Gunnerson, a ninja-viking-lumberjack of a man, who size should have her running the other way, but his love and care for wounded animals keeps drawing Sarah to him.
Sarah knows her brother doesn’t like to lose, and her time with Otto might not last if she has to run once again.
When her brother tracks her down to Monroe, he starts a war which might just take out what’s left of the citizens of Monroe, CO.
With so much going on in this story, the romance between Otto and Sarah needed to be sped up. There is also the issue of how her brother was able to locate her so quickly. When he first appeared, I thought this would turn out to be a nightmare that Sarah would wake up from and I was more than surprised that it was actually a plot point in the story. I don’t remember any explanation of how he managed to locate her so quickly. The action does pick up from this point so it was hard to focus on being annoyed with the plot fault.
I thought this would be the end of this series, but there is another story coming out this summer although I don’t remember meeting either of the main characters which is unusual after the other books by Katie Ruggle that I have read so far. There is also something which happens at the end of Survive the Night which revamps an nagging issue left over from Run to Ground and that is the fact that Jules “kidnapped” her siblings from her abusive stepmother and while the Sarah and Grace are both on the run from crime bosses, Jules’s action are actual considered criminal. I am guessing that Book 4 will come back and give us some closure on this issue.
I have enjoyed the Katie Ruggle stories that I have read so far, both in the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit and Search and Rescue series and have made her one of my automatic request authors.
As promised, Otto was waiting for her on the porch. His gaze ran over her in a way that overheated her, making her warm clothes unnecessary. He didn’t say anything, just held out his hand.
She gripped it, loving the gesture, even if it was glove to glove rather than skin to skin. When they reached the barn, he released her in order to open the door, and Sarah felt instantly and illogically colder. As they cut through the barn, Otto grabbed a halter and lead rope off a hook next to the single, oversized stall.
“That’s a huge stall,” Sarah said as she followed him toward the paddock gate.
He gave her a slighly sheepish look over his shoulder. “It was two, but Bean and Hortense like to room together.”
“Makes sense.” It was hard to keep her tone even when her heart was squeezed so tightly. The idea that this burly man took out the connecting stall wall so that Bean wouldn’t be as scared was so sweet that tears burned Sarah’s eyes. She quickly blinked them back. “Was Hortense a rescue, too?””A couple of years ago, I went on a call for a stolen vehicle case we’d been working on with the sheriff’s department. We found the stolen cars in the barn, and Hortense was in there, too. She was pretty much a mess–wormy, mangy, and so skinny you could see every one of her ribs, but she wasn’t skittish or scared at all.” He smiled as he held the gate for her. “She walked right up to me and stared chewing on my jacket sleeve. Her owner was going to jail, and he said he didn’t care if I took her. I just had a squad car there, though, so I convinced the deputy to let me load Hortense into the back of her SUV. Even now, when I see that deputy, she tells me that her squad still smells like goat poop.”
Sarah laughed at the image, feeling a surge of compassion toward the goat that was now trotting toward them. “You sure have a soft spot for animals in need.” And people. She pushed away the thought that he might just be interested in her because of her situation. If that were true, though, he’d have gone after Jules or Grace. Her sad story paled in comparison to theirs.
He shurgged slightly as he dug in his pocket for a treat. “I think every animal deserves to feel safe.”
That simple statement hit Sarah hard. Until she’d run to Monroe–no, until she’d moved in with Otto–she had never felt safe. Now that she’d gotten a taste of it, she knew that she would fight with everything she had to keep that feeling–for her, and for everyone she was coming to love. She couldn’t think of how to respond to him, how to express her thoughts, so she stayed quiet. As she watched him feed Hortense, she leaned against his other side, wanting that contact, that connection. He put his arm around her, drawing her closer, and she wallowed in his touch, in his kind and protective nature. At that moment, she decide that she was going to enjoy every second she was given with him. Even if she was forced to run, if she was ripped away from the first place that had offered her security and friends and freedom, she didn’t want to leave with regrets.
“I want to…” She trailed off, distracted by what she saw in his hand. “What on earth are you feeding Hortense?”
“Cheetos.” He gave her a lopsided smile. “It’s her favorite treat.”
“Of course they are.” Now that the mood had changed, she decided to keep her revelation to herself. “No one can resist that orange fake-cheese stuff. Wouldn’t, I don’t know, some kind of vegetable be healthier?”
“Probably. I figure a few won’t hurt.”
That’s true.” A movement caught her eye. “Bean is very sneakily headed this way. Does he get Cheetos, too?”
“Carrots,” he said without looking at the horse standing just six feet awa from them. As Bean sidled a little closer, Otto put a chunk of carrot on his palm and extended his flat hand toward the horse. Stretching his neck so he could reach without stepping closer, Bean took the piece of carrot and then retreated several feet to chew it as he watched them warily.
“Is he rideable?” Sarah asked, leaning more heavily against Otto.
“Yes, but we’re taking it slow. I want him to enjoy work, not to fear it. No reason to rush things. We’ve got time.”
For some reason, that made her want to cry. Otto and Bean had time, but did she? did they? Blinking, she focused on Bean, who’d started his sneaky sidle toward them again. Otto, occupied with giving Hortense a Cheeto, didn’t have a carrot waiting, but Bean still stretched his neck out…and snatched Otto’s hat. The horse, his prize dangling from his mouth, took off for the other side of the pasture.
“What?” Otto reached toward his now-bare head, looking startled. Sarah began to laugh. Still holding on to the hat, Bean trotted along the fence, head and tail up.
Sarah laughed harder until she had to bend over and hold her stomach. “Sorry!” she gasped between breaths. “He just looks so…proud.” That set her off again.
“He does, doesn’t he?” Otto didn’t sound annoyed He sounded…bemused. When she looked up at him, wiping tears of laughter from her face, she saw he was watching her with banked heat and something else in his gaze–something that looked a lot like affection.