Author: Melinda Elliot
Series: Scarlet Falls (Book 1)
Publication: Montlake Romance (December 9, 2014)
Description: While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders.
Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to Afghanistan.
But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.
Bestselling author Melinda Leigh delivers another gritty mystery simmering with spine-tingling passion in this first Scarlet Falls novel.
My Thoughts: HOUR OF NEED was an exciting and fast-paced romantic suspense novel. Major Grant Barrett is called home from his tour in Afghanistan when his brother Lee and Lee's wife Kate are gunned down on the street in an apparent robbery. They leave behind six-year-old Carson and infant daughter Faith. The kids' babysitter is next door neighbor Julia who lives with her mother Ellie and Grandmother Nan.
Grant and Ellie have met when Grant was on leave and Lee and Kate hosted a number of barbecues trying to get the two of them together. But it was definitely the wrong time then for the two of them. Grant is single-mindedly focused on making General and make his father the Colonel proud of him. Ellie isn't interested in a relationship with another guy who'll leave as Julia's father did when Ellie was a pregnant 17-year-old.
Now their lives get more and more entwined. Lee was a lawyer who had taken a controversial case involving the suicide death of a teenager named Lindsay who was bullied by two other girls. The police couldn't do anything because all of the evidence disappeared courtesy of someone with good computer skills. Coincidentally, the father of one of the bullies just happens to be a computer expert. Ellie works as a secretary in the same law firm Lee worked in and her daughter skates at the same club where Kate coached and Lindsay and the bullies took lessons.
We get to see the viewpoint of the petty criminal turned murderer who killed Lee and Kate and who is still trying to recover the files that Lee had about the bullying case. He is keeping watch on the house and makes a number of attempts to get in to search and to kidnap Carson and Julia. Carson saw him on the night his parents were killed and Julia fits into the murderer's sick fantasies. Someone is also threatening the people Ellie loves if she doesn't locate the missing file and deliver it to that person.
Add in a colicky baby and Grant's hard to locate brother and sister and you have a very stressful time for both Grant and Ellie. While trying to find out what happened to Lee and Kate, Grant also has to figure out what will happen to Carson and Faith when his 30-day bereavement leave is over.
I'll admit that Leigh had me following a bunch of red herrings as I tried to puzzle out the identity of the killer and the reason for the killing. I couldn't stop reading until I got to the stunning conclusion. Fans of romantic suspense won't want to miss this excellent title.
If things were different, if he wasn't an ambitious military officer constantly moving all over the world, if she wasn't so bound by the betrayal of her past, if their current meeting wasn't mired in grief, then maybe something could happen between them.I received this eARC from the author. You can buy your copy here.