Stolen Chances (Stolen #4) by Elisabeth Naughton

StolenChancesNine years ago, Archaeologist Maren Hudson lost everything when a member of her team was killed during a routine dive. Now she’s been drawn back to Mexico and the career she walked away from in order to protect the most precious thing in the world: her daughter.

One desperate phone call brings salvage expert Thad Leighton back to Mexico. For his murdered brother, he’s ready to settle the score, but one look at Maren and everything changes. Years may have passed, but she’s still as mesmerizing as she once was, and a few days on site together have him questioning his priorities and why the hell he walked away from her so long ago.

Sparks between them reignite, but Thad knows Maren is holding something back. Thrust together in the middle of the sweltering Yucatan, Thad is more than willing to strip away her layers. But while the truth might offer the second chance he’s been searching for, forgiveness may be as elusive as the relic they’re both hunting. Because when Thad unearths Maren’s biggest secret and discovers who she’s really working for, suddenly it’s not just about a life that was stolen from both of them, it’s about staying alive and outwitting a madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1It is almost guaranteed that if I pick up a book by Elisabeth Naughton I am going to love it and I will not be able to put it down. The first book I picked up by her was Marked, the first book in her Eternal Guardians series. I’ve been hooked ever since. Contemporary or PNR, it doesn’t matter. Her characters and her writing style are fantastic regardless of the genre. As expected, Stolen Chances was no exception.

This is the 4th book in the Stolen series (which actually started out as being the Stolen Trilogy.) Even though I’ve only read the first book in this series (Stolen Fury) I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by skipping books 2 & 3. It was actually kind of okay because the featured couple from Stolen Fury was in this book as well.  Just that connection gave me a frame of reference I may not have had otherwise, but I think that this book would have worked just as well as a stand alone.

As for the book itself? I loved it. I liked Maren from the beginning. I liked how the secrets about her past were slowly revealed. I liked her devotion to her daughter and her passion about her work. Her situation was heartbreaking and as much as I loved Thad I totally understood her reluctance to let him in.

And then there was Thad… I wasn’t sure about him at first but I ended up really liking him and hoping that he could get through Maren’s wall. Turns out they both had secrets that proved to be major turning points.

The supporting characters were also great. Her friends were fun and fiercely loyal. Her parents were interesting, in many ways and her daughter was perfect. I loved her personality. I like it when kids are portrayed as strong a character as their adult counterparts. She wasn’t around much, but when she was her presence wasn’t just a plot device, it was a great addition.

The bad guys were ruthless, there were moments when you weren’t exactly sure who you should trust and the sizzling heat between Maren and Thad kept things more than interesting. Even though this is a contemporary romance there was still an element of ‘magic’ and mystery that was an addition I loved. Basically, this book had everything I love in a good romance – which, as you may have already guessed, came as no surprise at all. 😉