When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn’t satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn’t lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby’s position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn’t the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances.
Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He’s surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.
The third book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series, Stranded (Bethany House), sees the return of investigative journalist Darcy St James to Alaska on a mission to find her friend who has disappeared from a cruise ship while undercover. Gage McKenna’s attempt at avoiding the captivating Darcy is foiled when her cover story necessitates her assignment to his sporting expeditions under the guise of promoting the cruise lines new excursions. What ensues is an intriguing and gripping suspense deliciously accented with romantic tension.
It is quite the feat for an author to base a series around a family with recurring roles and still have the characters seem fresh and dynamic with each installment, thus allowing for further development. Dani Pettrey has given readers just such a family with the starring McKenna clan starring. There is no illusion of perfection with the McKennas; they are real flawed individuals with relatable problems and heartache. Consequently, readers are invested in their pain and triumphs, championing them through the highs and lows.
Gage McKenna is an honorable man who shoulders a world of pain. Mourning the death of his son and wary of love after the dissolution of his marriage, Gage fights the chemistry he has with Darcy because he fears his fragile heart can not withstand another loss. His distrust of ambitious women, a learned reaction from his experience with manipulative and deceptive ex, leads to much verbal sparring between the two main characters that only magnifies their compatibility and powerful love simmering beneath the surface. He is equal parts tender and fierce as he would willingly lay down his life to protect his family and Darcy.
Darcy St James is a tenacious in pursuit or the truth and justice. No hurdle is too large for her to conquer in her quest to solving Abby’s disappearance, even when she is forced to face her deepest fears stemming from a childhood trauma. Her perseverance is only rivaled my her compassion and loyalty. Fortified by faith and reassured by Gage’s protection, Darcy forges onwards until she unveils an evil far greater than she could have imagined.
Darcy and Gage’s romance is not purely based on attraction (although there is a heart palpating dose of that to be sure!). Theirs is a meeting of minds and wills that keeps readers engaged with their bantering and partnership. Built upon the history established in Shattered, Stranded develops their relationship set against a tantalizing mystery.
There is no easing in to the plot as the opening scene literally takes off on a running start, riveting readers’ attentions to page. With a mystery with successive twists and turns. The surprising resolution grapples with very contemporary social issues that educates readers will simultaneously entertaining. Set against the majestic beauty and unbridled wilderness of Alaska, Dani Pettrey has penned another enrapturing story sure to please old fans and win new ones.
Be sure to check out the previous two books in this series. While they can be read out of order there is more backstory for reference in the previous novels. And more importantly, why miss out on the thrilling adventure of a Dani Pettrey romantic suspense?