VBB Review - East of Redemption by Molly E. Lee

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Review + Excerpt: East of Redemption by Molly E. Lee

My Thoughts

A high-spirited adventure romance
rife with tension, thrills and treasure hunting.

4halfstars

Synopsis

East of RedemptionEaston Wells has spent years burying his guilt by digging up some of the world’s most renowned treasures while surviving the dangerous terrains in which they’re located—all captured for television. When his producers threaten to axe the show, he has no choice but to turn to the last person he still trusts—the girl he left behind.

Rain Walker has made a name for herself documenting wild and endangered animals, and the last voice she expects to hear while shooting in South Africa is Easton’s. He’s more gorgeous than she remembers, but the pain in her heart is as fresh as ever. They’d once planned on spending the rest of their lives together, but after her father’s tragic death while on expedition in Israel with him, Easton bailed on their future together without an explanation. It’s been nine years, and yet the intense love they shared seems only a moment ago.

When he asks her to film his latest treasure hunt, Rain wants to turn him down instantly. But when he explains it’s to the same cave that swallowed her father, she can’t say no. She wants to experience the last place her father was alive, and she’s beyond curious about what happened to the boy she used to love.

They’ve got two weeks to locate a treasure that’s been lost for centuries, or Easton will lose the one thing in his life he’s come to depend on. As their old passion is reignited—and dark secrets uncovered—they face the extreme terrain of the mountain range that threatens them at every turn. As more than the wildlife and sharp drop-offs tries to kill them, Rain starts to question if the legendary treasure they seek—the same one her father had died trying to unearth—is truly meant to be found, or if some things, including their feelings for each other, are better left buried.

My Review

Romance and adventure delightfully mix in this fast-paced second-chance love story. Molly E. Lee delivers a story uniquely enthralling, especially for those of us who love pretty much anything inspired by Indiana Jones. This second-chance romance is full of feels, crackling with tension as our two protagonists—Easton and Rain—scale dangerous mountains, slide across sliver-thin bridges and trek into dark, hidden caves in Israel in search of fabled treasure. More importantly, theirs is a story of facing a past laden with memories but marked by loss… a split which had taken them on different paths for the last ten years.

After losing his mentor and hero, Easton Wells has spent the last several years scouring for treasure, boldly taunting danger to bury guilt and grief. His adventure TV show has become his whole life, especially after he walked away from the only family he’d ever really had. But when producers cut the show due to dwindling ratings, Easton becomes determined to give viewers an adventure they won’t be able to walk away from. The trouble is, he must ask for help from the love of his life—the girl he’d left behind.

“Hope was a whisper in the dark, tempting me to the edge.”

Rain Walker has become a revered wildlife photographer, visiting exotic locations to capture one-of-a-kind shots. But when Easton Wells shows up unexpectedly to ask for her help on a perilous adventure, she’s left reeling. This is her chance to uncover parts of her past she needed to know, but could she do it alongside the man who’d broken her heart?

“It didn’t matter how deep I’d buried him, or how much venom I’d spilled over his name. He was ingrained within me, a brand on my soul.”

Rain and Easton head to Israel, to the same cave where her father died, to search for the very treasure he sought his entire life. As their adventure begins, however, they find themselves followed, flirting with danger, and struggling to stop from falling into each other’s arms once again. But if their journey doesn’t shatter what they’ve reignited, Easton’s tightly held secrets could surely tear them apart.

“Don’t give u on me yet, Raindrop. Please… I have to finish what your father and I started nine years ago.”

East of Redemption was such a fun, fast-paced thrill ride, sure footed on both the romance and adventure fronts. I loved the story, loved both Rain and Easton. Loved that Rain, in particular, was a refreshingly far cry from the typical damsel in distress. Overall, the novel is a rare combination of adventure, humor, romance and crackling sexual tension that will have you quickly devouring its pages.

“Being with you is like finding the universe’s treasure… I don’t need anything else.”

Excerpt

My body struggled with exhaustion, and I finally allowed my eyes to close. Somewhere between remembering Easton’s soothing voice as he’d read to me on the porch swing of our home base in Oregon, and dreaming about the way he could touch me, skin to soul, barely making connection with his fingers, I woke up with a start.

Easton was moaning . . . no, wailing. I rubbed my palms into my eyes, forcing the heavy blanket of sleep to free my mind. I craned my head, making sure I hadn’t mistaken the wind for his voice.

“No, no . . .” he cried softly, his voice almost lost in the air whipping between my tent and where he rested outside.

I unzipped the tent as fast as I could, my hands fumbling with sleep and trembling with adrenaline as it coursed through my veins. Flashes of a wild animal sinking its teeth into Easton’s neck, or a poisonous snake coiling around his flesh, spurred my panic.

Fuck, please don’t be a snake.

Practically falling out of the tent and onto the hard ground, I scrambled to find my footing and stumbled the short distance to him. The fire still burned, casting a warm glow between our two shelters. A breath of air escaped from my lungs as I fell to my knees beside him.

No snakes. No wild animals. Just Easton, dreaming.

He lay huddled on his side, his arms and knees drawn in to protect his body from the cold. His eyes were clenched shut, an expression of agony contorting the beautiful lines of his face. He was clearly in the throes of a vivid nightmare.

“No! Please, God!” His body jerked slightly, his hands remaining locked underneath his armpits, making him look like a person trapped in a straitjacket.

I reached out to him, my hand hovering over his face, debating if I should wake him or not. Hadn’t I read something where it was worse to wake someone in the middle of a nightmare?

“Harrison!” The plea on his lips rang clear. My father’s name. What the hell was going on inside his head?

Finally deciding whatever he saw wasn’t worth working through in his sleep, I gripped his shoulder, the angle and reach I had to do in order to not knock over his stick wall completely awkward. “Easton,” I said gently, hoping to calm him without fully waking him.

He shook back and forth, the strain in the lines of his forehead severe. “I can’t! I won’t!”

“Easton!” I shouted, unable to take the desperation in his voice, the terrible tang of fear coating his words. I’d slept with him too many times to count—before and after we’d become an item—and he’d never once had this kind of nightmare. The adrenaline hit an all-time high when I couldn’t wake him, and the more he thrashed, the more a warning bell rang in my head. A vicious alarm that made me feel useless to help whatever demon held him hostage in his mind.

Angling myself farther inside his too-tiny shelter, I hovered above him, supporting myself with one hand near his back, pressing against the rocky ground, and the other grabbing his cheek. “Easton,” I said, only an inch or so from his ear.

He jerked underneath me, his eyes popping open. He snapped his head to the side, finally locking onto my face, and he flipped to his back, causing my supporting arm to drop me fully on top of him. The breath whooshed out of my lungs as I crashed onto his hard chest, and he instantly encased me in his strong arms, squeezing me so hard I struggled to get the lost breath back.

I could feel his racing heart pounding against his chest, and he trembled beneath me, his entire body shaking. He buried his face in my shoulder, inhaling deeply, like he could drink my scent.

“Easton,” I whispered, frozen in his embrace and too terrified to move.

“I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.” His tone still held the desperate edge it had moments ago, and I questioned if he was fully awake or not.

“It’s all right, Compass. I’m here. You’re fine. It was just a nightmare.”

He shook his head against my shoulder, his breath hitching.

“I’m sorry,” he said again, this time barely audible.

I shifted against him, wrenching a hand free and forcing him to look at me. Panic coated his beautiful brown eyes, which were only slightly illuminated from the glow of the fire slipping between the cracks of the sticks that covered the top half of our bodies. Warmth settled in my core, pulsing in the breath of space that separated our faces.

“It’s all right.” I pushed his hair off his forehead. “You’re okay.” I watched as the sharp tinge of fear transformed into something fiercer but still desperate.

He closed the tiny gap between us, bringing his lips to mine. I closed my eyes automatically, the sensation of his kiss something I’d only allowed myself to fantasize about on particularly cold nights. My heart begged me to jerk away, to run, to shield it from the weapon that had shattered it so many years ago, but my body . . . oh my body went soft and pliant against the hard planes of him.

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