By: Kris Gilson
Kelly Group International…a super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Garrett Kelly is the ultimate alpha male; former military, rock hard body, highly intelligent, the type to shoot first and ask questions later. His scowl and suspicious nature would have a lesser man shaking in his boots. In the two previous books (The Darkest Hour, No Place to Run), Garrett is always very intense and consistently broods, but his deep loyalty and devotion to his family is evident when he takes a bullet (in No Place to Run) for his soon-to-be sister-in-law. In Hidden Away, Garrett is recuperating and he accepts a mission to babysit Sarah Daniels on a tropical beach. Most people would think an all-expenses tropical getaway for a cake job would be fabulous, but Garrett sees it as a potential opportunity for revenge. Sarah Daniels is the secret half-sister of Marcus Lattimer, the man who betrayed Garrett and his team and resulted in the deaths of several of his men.
Garrett is instantly drawn to Sarah. She is haunted by a devastating betrayal of her former bosses. One of those bosses is the man that Marcus Lattimer killed, drawing the attention of the CIA and, subsequently, the Kelly Group. From early on in the story, you can see that both Garrett and Sarah are closed off people, and not very trusting for decidedly different reasons. During their time on the beach, both of them slowly start to change. Garrett is described by his mother as a self-sufficient loner, but deep-down there are more dimensions to his character than just being grouchy and anti-social. We get to see the warm and caring qualities and his lighter side the more he interacts with Sarah. It was also a sweet journey to watch Sarah begin to overcome her past, her timidity, and her vulnerability.
Garrett follows Sarah to Mexico and when he shows up at her house, telling her that her brother hired him to watch over her, she asks what’s in it for him, besides the money. He tells her “You, you’re what’s in it for me”. A minute later they’re kissing and she is laughing when he tells her to forget about his expanding groin. He tells her that he was trying not to be an asshole. She laughs harder and says “You break into my house. You take my gun away from me. Informed me you lied about pretty much everything when we were on the island. Then tell me I’m an idiot who’s trying to get herself killed. And you’re worried about being an asshole?” To me, this scene exemplifies the book and how it transports us from the emotionally tender to the laugh out loud.
Garrett knew Sarah would be unhappy to find out that he lied about working for her brother. He knows there is a loyalty and innate goodness to her, but he desperately has to believe he is doing the right thing in fulfilling his unspoken promise to avenge his fallen teammates. Even as he begins to realize that he could lose Sarah and might be losing some of his honor, he is driven by the honor of that promise. It is this internal struggle that kept me from thinking that his lying to Sarah was a despicable act!
When they’re kidnapped in Mexico and Garrett takes a beating for her, she tries to defend him as she is sick with worry that he will be too badly hurt. She doesn’t understand how strong willed he is that he could suffer a beating without uttering a single sound. When Rio shows up to rescue them, she doesn’t know who he is and puts herself between Rio and a sleeping Garrett in order to defend him. She is ready to humiliate herself and give him her body in order to protect Garrett. Then she is embarrassed that she partially bared herself in front of one of Garrett’s men. Not only is this a glimpse into Sarah’s loyalty and her growing love for Garrett, but we get another glimpse into Rio’s mysterious and unique personality. I am so looking forward to Rio getting his own book (which, according to Maya’s web page, will be Book 5, after Nathan’s story!).
There are so many wonderful and intriguing characters we’ve been introduced to so far who are further developed in each book, and I really am hoping that each and every one gets their own story. There are also other elements that simply add to the story, namely the family dynamic and the interaction among the brothers. Visiting again with some of the characters was great, and truly meaningful, not simply page filler. I was charmed by Sam with the birth of his baby and devoured the news that Rachel continues to improve. Other than Rio, I’m especially intrigued by PJ and Rusty. I know Rusty has a lot of growing up to do, but I’m really hoping that we’ll get to see her paired up with Sean someday. Perhaps if Maya is able to pop in and chat she will give us some more info on what the future might bring!
Maya is giving away the winner's choice of one of her books, so comment to be entered in the drawing! Find out more about Maya and her books at http://www.mayabanks.com./
Since a portion of the story takes places in the Caribbean, I thought we could cook up a treat from the island where I honeymooned just about 20 years ago:
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jerk seasoning, a spicy blend of garlic, onion, chiles, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, originated in Jamaica and is traditionally used on pork and chicken. Because the jerk marinade can burn easily, the chicken requires slow cooking on the grill, which also helps keep the meat moist.
For jerk marinade:
• 3 scallions, chopped
• 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
• 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 pounds), halved crosswise
• 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
Blend all marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Marinate and grill chicken:
Divide chicken pieces and marinade between 2 sealable plastic bags. Seal bags, pressing out excess air, then turn bags over several times to distribute marinade. Put bags of chicken in a shallow pan and marinate, chilled, turning once or twice, 1 day.
Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
Papaya Salsa accompaniment
• 2 pounds papaya (2 preferably pink-fleshed strawberry variety), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 1 1/2 cups diced (1/4 inch) fresh pineapple (from 1/2 small pineapple)
• 2 scallions, finely chopped
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Stir together all ingredients.
You can also substitute mango or cantaloupe.