When Detective Mike Sterling left the Chicago PD and returned to his hometown of Renlend Kansas, he tried to convince himself it was so his mother could stop worrying. The truth was, even Renlend wasn’t going to vanquish the dreams that tortured him at night.
When Taryn Watts landed in Renland Kansas to design a client’s new cooking school she intended to stay just long enough to do the job and then go right back to her life on the East Coast.
When Taryn and Mike found themselves sharing a booth, one thing was certain, neither one of them thought it was a good idea. Mike still wasn’t over his ex-wife’s betrayal, and when Taryn found out Mike was a cop she wanted to run all the way back to Connecticut and never look back, but she couldn’t… Sitting outside his home late at night she watches him fight against his demons. Demons she already had too much experience with firsthand.
When Mike finally admits there is no way to outrun his demons, Tayrn knows she’ll do anything, or be anything, to help Mike find his way back.
“Of-freaking-course he’d be a cop.” Taryn muttered to herself as she made her way toward the rear of the bar, her heels clicking on the old wood floor. Passing a high top table, she gave the two men grinning at her a forced, tight-lipped smile and kept walking. Her destination, now known to Mike the cop, wasn’t at all awkward or embarrassing. With a frustrated huff she pulled open the ladies room door and rolled her eyes.
When she made the decision to stay and eat at the pub, Taryn just wanted to avoid the solitude of her hotel room. She had a hundred ideas running through her head for the project she was working on and wanted to lose herself in her work—something she loved and was comfortable with.
Always one to be aware of her surroundings, as she made her way to a table, she had noticed him instantly. His presence demanded attention and respect. It was something some men were born with. That she knew all too well. It was a quiet power associated with authority figures. It was something she could prove through personal experience.
As hard as she tried to ignore him, every so often a wave of tingles danced over her skin. She knew, not in the obvious way but in the feel it sort of way, his eyes on her. She did her best to keep her own eyes on her work, every now and then though, her gaze drifted over just to sneak a peek.
The man was undeniably good-looking, tall and broad shouldered, with muscled forearms that flexed every time he reached for a fry or his drink. Snaking out from underneath his short-sleeved t-shirt were bits of a tattoo that banded around his upper arm. It was when he held his hand out to her, that she’d gotten the first look at his eyes.
The strong jaw, marked with the day’s shadow, made him look almost rugged. The clean-cut of his light brown hair reminded her he was a cop. It was those eyes though that grabbed her and wouldn’t let go. They were so sharp, she felt almost as if he could see deep into the depths of her soul. The blue so clear, her first thought was of sea glass—the same blue as the sea along the beaches she’d once combed back in college.
She’d had enough overbearing protectiveness that came with being a cop’s daughter to last a lifetime. It only became worse when her two older brothers followed in their father’s footsteps. That made being the baby of the family by ten years, the equivalent to living in a prison, at least in Taryn’s mind. Their small home in Boston was quiet, and her mother was the perfect throwback to a fifties house-wife—minus vacuuming in heels and pearls. Deep down, Taryn knew her family loved her and that they wanted to keep her safe and sound. As a child, she was blissfully naïve to the lengths her father would go to just to keep his baby girl safe. As a teenager, the warm fuzzy feelings, she once had toward her childhood home, gave way to being stifled. When her brothers were added to the mix, she felt suffocated.
The instant her diploma hit her hand, she moved to California for college. The University of Southern California had been about as far away as she could get from the men in her life. Taryn felt bad about leaving her mother to worry about them all during their shifts…just not bad enough to stop her from escaping.
Making her way back to her table, she expected to politely thank Mr. Handsome with a Badge for his good deed and have him return to his own table—or better yet, maybe just leave. He, however, had made himself quite comfortable at her table, and as she got closer she saw he’d ordered them each a second beer. With her laptop running, her notebook and sketchpad all open, it wasn’t as if she could just pretend she had somewhere else to be. He already knew she wasn’t from around there, so she could only assume he knew she had no other plans.
Damn her parents for raising her to be Miss Mary Manners.
The real problem, she realized was her pulse. As she approached Mike, her heart started beating faster. How could she be so drawn to a stranger, pulled out of her control. But more, this was the first time she’d had an instant reaction to any man. Sure, there had been a couple of fairly serious relationships in the past. One in college and one shortly after moving back to the East coast. This was the first connection in which she felt so out of control. It was bad enough he was a stranger, and they lived nowhere close to each other, but to top it all off…the man was a cop.
It was a heroic profession to most everyone in the world, heroic to her—as long as she never had to live with another one under the same roof ever again.
Mike’s Way Back starts of by drawing the reader right in. Mike is a cop with scars no one sees, demons he fights thanks to events in his past. He’s also not trusting of women thanks to his cheating ex-wife. Taryn on the other hand is powerful, beautiful, creative, and has beyond had it with cops and their overprotect attitudes. She lets no man near her heart, well, not until Make somehow manages to sneak right past her defenses, that is.
This story unfold in such a way that you never want to pause reading. The characters are engaging, the world building charming (I have a thing for architecture so I doubly adore Taryn, lol), and the problems these two have are real and compelling. The relationship is built so organically that you wish you could trade places with the MC’s, Mike more than worth the work.
I sat down to read Mike’s Way Back and only came up for air when the last page was echoing in my mind. This is the book for you if you love compelling, sweet romances. I’ve read most of the Racing to Love series but found myself enjoying Amy’s newest even more and can’t wait for more in the Finding Perfect series! Oh, and no, it’s not that all the characters are perfect, it’s that they are looking to find their prefect…. perfect life, perfect love, etc. No different than the rest of us really. If you haven’t read an Amy Gregory story, this is the ‘perfect’ way to be introduced to a wonderful writer and a wonderful set of stories.
When asked ‘when do you have time to write’, Amy Gregory simply laughs. The real answer is, “in bits and pieces”. She and her husband live in Kansas City with their three fantastic kids that keep them running in three very different directions. Because she sits so much, she always carries a note- book with her at all times.
She has an off the wall, snarky, off the cuff sense of humor that often shocks even those who’ve known her for years. And she loves that her children have all been blessed that ability to make others laugh as well. At least she’s grateful most of the time! Her husband often teases her about how she “makes this stuff up” when he’s reading a piece of her work. … The answer—“it just comes to me when I’m typing”. Scary thought, huh!