When her best friend goes missing after being targeted by child groomers, Tess Robertson feels she has no choice but to run away.
Fearing for her life, Tess leaves the children’s home where she’s resided for the past eighteen months, and boards a train bound for the capital.
While wandering the streets of London, Tess realises she’s being followed, causing her to run once again, straight into the path of a bullet meant for arms dealer, Kolya Barinov.
While Tess recovers, Kolya vows to keep her safe: to give her a good life in return for saving his.
But is this simply swapping one danger for another? Or could the path to true happiness begin with blood and bullets?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first book in the Runaway Trilogy. I really enjoyed it!
Tess Robertson is a likeable character. She is a relatively normal teen who has had her fair share of angst in her past, though she has a sensible head on her shoulders. Now eighteen, she has been living in a children's home for the past eighteen months after her foster parent suffered from a heart attack. When her fifteen-year-old friend Sarah goes missing, Tess sets off to find her. Fate puts her in the path of a bullet meant for an arms dealer.
Kolya Barinov is a fascinating character. He is a Russian arms dealer and businessman. He is not a man you want to cross. When a young woman throws herself in front of the bullet meant for him, he's taken with her bravery and finds himself drawn to her even though she's young enough to be his daughter.
This is not an easy review to write as it is extremely difficult not to give away spoilers. However, I will do my best not to.
This story is not a comfortable read, as there is some violence and deals with human trafficking. However, it is also, first and foremost, a romance novel.
I started reading the book and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. The story is told through the eyes of both Tess and Kolya, which gives the reader a chance to see their thoughts and feelings, and is written in British English. I found myself caught up in the tale and absolutely enthralled with the way the author wove the story together. The author portrays the way that sexual predators lure their victims into relationships with chilling reality. It is scarily easy, unfortunately. Living in South Yorkshire, where a huge paedophile/grooming ring was exposed recently, this tale takes on more significance in my eyes. However, although the author uses men of a certain religion in this tale, sexual predators come in many guises and many denominations, and they have my utter contempt. Kolya Barinov may be an arms dealer, a businessman, and be as scary as hell when crossed, but he at least has a conscience, unlike the men and women who prey on vulnerable children.
I loved the romance side of the story and enjoyed watching Kolya and Tess's relationship bloom. Some readers may be put off by the main protagonists age difference, but it didn't bother me in the least. The story kept me hooked and took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion. When I reached the end, I was a little disappointed as I wanted to continue reading! I am now looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy as soon as I can.
Helen Bright has written a wonderful contemporary romance filled with danger and suspense. I love her fast paced writing style, which kept me turning the pages. The story flow is wonderful too and I could picture each scene in my minds eye with ease. I haven't read any other books by this author, yet, but I would definitely do so in the future.
Although there are no explicit scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to young readers, or those of a nervous disposition, or those who may be affected by a triggering event due to extreme violence and/or abuse. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love gritty contemporary romance or romantic suspense genres. - Lynn Worton
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Although mainly writing in the paranormal genre, Helen also writes romantic suspense stories with darker elements, the first of which is due for release at the end of the year.