Book Review of Missing in Blue Mesa (Ranger Brigade: Family Secrets, Bk 5) (Harlequin Intrigue, No 1765)

Missing in Blue Mesa (Ranger Brigade: Family Secrets, Bk 5) (Harlequin Intrigue, No 1765)
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Very good book. The action and suspense began immediately. Michelle (aka Starfall) joined the "Family" as a way to find proof that Metwater and his brother murdered her sister. As the book opens, she has snuck into his motorhome, looking for that proof. Her determination leaps off the page, as does her fear when Metwater discovers her. As she escapes his violent attack on her, she literally falls into Ethan's arms.

Ethan and other members of the Ranger Brigade have arrived at the camp to question Metwater and his followers about a car-theft ring operating in the area. They are convinced that he knows something about it. That investigation takes a backseat for Ethan as he steps up to help Michelle.

Michelle is very wary. Her experiences with law enforcement have not been good and she doesn't trust them. She has built up a hard shell of independence and standoffishness. When her nine-month-old son goes missing, she turns to Ethan and the Rangers for help. She is stunned when he actually believes her claims in spite of Metwater's attempts to discredit her. I loved the strength that she developed over the years and her determination to take control of her life and give Hunter the life she didn't have.

Ethan is a great guy. He's protective and caring and lives to make things easier for those he cares about. There are some great scenes with his mom, as both learn to deal with life without his father. His protectiveness runs up against his mom's growing independence, and he's a bit clueless about how to handle it. I loved watching Michelle try to explain things to him.

There were sparks between Ethan and Michelle from the beginning. Though wary at the start, it doesn't take long for Michelle to realize that Ethan is one man that she can trust. I loved seeing her hard edges soften a little as she gives up a bit of her fierce independence and allows him to take care of her. She slowly discovers that relying on someone for help doesn't make you weak, but instead can make you stronger. For Ethan, Michelle quickly became more than just a case to him. I loved how he struggled a little to balance his protectiveness with her independence, but there was no doubt in him that she had found her way into his heart. The ending was sweet, with his confession and her response.

The suspense and action in the book were great. Over the course of the series, we have seen Metwater's mask start to slip. His attack on Michelle and his threats against her son were chilling. Of course, this makes him the prime suspect when Hunter disappears. The Rangers' efforts to find Hunter build in intensity as the leads they uncover point more closely to Metwater's involvement. From the rescue of Hunter to the confrontation with Metwater, I was on the edge of my seat as Ethan and Michelle battled for their lives. I can't wait for the next book and to see how it all turns out.