Title: A Shadow from His Past
Author: Romona Hilliger
Published in December 2005 by Romance At Heart Publications
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Brad Steele knows about hard work. One thing he never had was an easy life of luxury. Now at the young age of eighteen he acquires a job in a prosperous home, unaware of the daughter that occupies the house. Megan is a rich spoiled brat, who is too pampered and persists in flaunting her attentions Brads way but when he continues to send her negative response she is not one that enjoys refusal from anyone and when Brad gets a taste of her betrayal it is something he didnít expect in the deal when he is cast in a set-up that lands him with three-years for theft by her wicked hands. She is a cold calculating woman who will not be turned down at any costs and will make sure that Brad pays for his rejection.
If Brad had known that securing employment in a wealthy home would have sentenced him to a crime he didnít do, he would have never taken the job. Now twelve years later he finds himself in Northern Territory of Australia, living in the wilds taking care of the animals that others enjoy harassing and causing harm. He has overcome some of the obstacles the cards dealt him, even becoming a successful photographer and winning an award for National Geographic for his wildlife photographs. But still the past has a way of searing pain to his heart that is hard to forget and after having it hardened by a woman in the past that turned it more or less to stone, he prefers to be left alone. And that includes Jodie Marshall whom he comes in contact after finding an injured bird desperately needing attention.
While staying at the Summer House and securing a holiday job, Jodie Marshall never thought she would run into anyone like Brad. She was only trying to locate the man who ran the animal shelter. But what she stumbled upon was someone much more than she imagined. Not only does she find him extremely dark and handsome, there is a sensual side to him that most woman no doubt find quite stimulating. He is a generally good looking man she is certain falls into many womenís fantasies. But underneath that sensual exterior lays the heart of a man that has been burnt during lifetime, she is quick to observe and something tells her that she may never break that mold of steel that barricades his heart desiring no release.
Jodi wonders what could make a man so tender on the outside caring for an injured bird or anyone animal then cold and hateful inside his heart. But after meeting Brad, the naturalist seems to enjoy complete isolation never wishing to be cloistered to anything for anyone. She is glad to meet John, Bradís brother and learn some things about Brad that helps her to understand his behavior better. Still she feels that John is being protective of his brother and doesnít wish to divulge something more, like a shared secret of some kind. Now it is up to Jodie to try to get through that blockade of Bradís and unlock the painful secret that renders him to complete seclusion. And when one incident happens to toss them together, it is a night of passion neither will forget especially when the formalities are dropped.
Brad never considered falling for any woman after being burnt by one so badly that it left deep scars but when he stumbles upon Jodie she begins to melt the iceberg around his heart but that doesnít allow him to immediately feel love for her. A deep dark secret that he carries embedded in his soul prohibits him from loving anyone. Jodie feels that her love is strong enough for both of them and doesnít wish to lose Brad. But guilt surmounts in Brad as his conscience is torn between loving her and the plague of a past he wishes to forget while the sharp knife continues to shred his heart with each passing day. He feels that Jodie deserves more than him, a man who is an ex-convict isnít for the likes of anyone like Jodie. There is only one thing left for him to do, and that is to put a halt to any relationship. Jodie cannot believe that Brad wishes to throw something good away. She confides to him about her own hard life, her parents wishing to have a son to take over the business, and instead only having her, so her father lavished her with money, no love, just money. Her classy life, as Brad refers it, consisted of the nanny the one bringing her up with her well-mannered upbringing. She did everything to make her parents proud of her but nothing she could do would send their love her way. That is why she feels she and Brad can commit because they have both endured much in their past. Their love is strong enough to survive anything that troubles him, no matter if it is a jail term, a poison pen letter or any evil that succumbs into their life. But when someone returns that promises to destroy their future, this time it may not be Brad that suffers.
A Shadow from his Past is a story that shows how sometimes people will stop at nothing to get what they want in life. While one might deserve to obtain what they cannot have in life and go about destroying anyway they can, another only wishes happiness and will stop at nothing to show that is the important key to gain. Brad had been cast a bad choice in life then when offered what he thought to be something much grandeur he quickly learned only led to disappointment and heartbreak until he suffered years before meeting Jodie. I found her character extremely forceful standing up for what she believed in and one thing being Brad. She saw someone that had more or less had the breath knocked out of his lungs and she wanted to show him that there was someone who could make a difference in his life. The two made such a lovely couple and the way they worked through the obstacles cast in their path was remarkable. Bringing in the character of the brother, John added a nice element to the storyline, too. I could practically feel Jodieís ache when she confessed her upbringing to Brad, it was a very poignant move in the story.
Romona Hilliger takes two refreshing characters who desire to do the right thing in life and creates a story of extraordinary love. She seasons in with just a touch of tarnish from a rich young girl who thinks she can do anything, and everything continues to go her way, cleverly penning a romance that last through time when Brad and Jodie meet. By incorporating deepened scars to Brad and a lingering love with Jodie, with her own battling scars, she brings out their inner emotions that this reader could feel. Her writing is thoroughly delightful and kept me glued from the first page to the last. She allows her characters to emit sensations across the pages, allowing the reader to come to know them, to understand them and for a moment have them spring forth to life. The way she pens Megan is so realistic and psychotic that it gave the book greater depth. Ms. Hilliger has brilliantly detailed a read that kept this reader spellbound. The dialogue is superb, the secondary characters a plus and Brad and Jodie, two people who will always be remembered in this readers mind. I thought A Shadow from his PastRomance at Hearts Publications today, and pick up a copy. Pull up a cozy chair, pour a cup of tea and get ready for A Shadow from his Past is a treasure!
Sincerely good reading,