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Into the Storm by Melanie Moreland
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Into the Storm

by Melanie Moreland

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A few pages into the first chapter, I started to recognize the story. More importantly, though, I was sucked in by it, more so than I remember being back when it was fanfiction. Granted, I read it a loooooong time ago, so I don't remember a whole lot, but I know I wasn't nearly as interested in the story back then as I was this time around.

Joshua Bennett is proof that it takes more than time to heal wounds. Following a traumatic event, he abandoned his life in the city and closed himself off from the world. His days are spent at home, where he has only his dog Bear for company. So when a severe winter storm delivers a scared and injured young woman to his door, everything is turned upside down.

She doesn't remember her name or how she got there. She doesn't remember how her body came to be covered in bruises or what led her to crash her car into a tree along Joshua's private property. The only thing she seems sure of is that she feels safe with him...safe from what, she doesn't know. And if Joshua is certain of nothing else, he's certain that he won't let anyone hurt her again.

It's the perfect dramatic beginning to a mystery-slash-romance where the characters have no choice but to depend upon each other. The romance is a given, though Joshua tries to stave it off, but the mystery remains. Who is she? What happened to her? And what was she running from with only an overnight bag and a wad of cash?

I didn't expect it, but the story had me convinced every step of the way. I was wrapped up in Joshua's fear of the outside world (and as someone who has similar issues, I can say the author nailed that part), and I was just as lost and confused as Rabbit (yes, that's the name he gave the girl with no name). Even the dog had me convinced! Aside from the prologue, the story gave nothing away about Rabbit's past until it slapped them both in the face, and every time I tried to put it down, I picked it right back up to see what would come next. I suppose the helicopter rescue could have been considered a little too much, but once you're sucked into a story in which one of the main characters has amnesia, you don't expect things to stay simple. And that whole scene was kind of brilliant anyway.

Ummmm...this is where I'm supposed to list off everything wrong with the story, the parts that were too far-fetched to fit in well, the unbelievable number of errors the so-called editor left in, the problems with a rushed relationship, ridiculously overdone sex scenes, or a too-neatly-wrapped ending. I've got nothin'.

I really didn't think I'd be giving this one 5 stars. I mean, it was fanfiction, something that always bleeds through when stories are reworked for publication. Obviously, I enjoy fanfiction, but I still expect something more when it comes to "real" books. Not so with this one. I can honestly say this story deserves to stand on its own outside the fanfic world. It's got drama and romance and suspense and a cute little happily ever after that is absolutely deserving of being called original. There's no contrived drama, no massive miscommunication to further the plot, and no supermodel lookalike showing up to spark jealously and misunderstanding. There are just two people struggling with their circumstances who find something they need in each other, and I found myself believing and rooting for them every step of the way. If you're looking for a thoroughly entertaining read, pick this one up. Trust me. It's pretty damned awesome.

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  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
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