Runaway

Coffee Shop Girl, Book 3

Coffee Shop Girl gave us Bethany and Maverick’s story. Lovesick gave us Lizbeth and JJ’s story. Ellie, Bethany and Lizbeth’s younger sister will tell her story in Wild Child. Runaway is a quite unexpected story of love, loss, trust, safety, fear, and triumph. This is the story of Mark Bailey and Stella.

Mark Bailey is JJ’s twin brother. After JJ marries Lizbeth, Mark decides to go full “mountain man.” Stella is his accountant with whom he has bumped heads for the past few years as she has tried to reign him in when he had another business venture idea. When Stella shows up at Adventura unannounced, she is the one surprised by Mark’s appearance when he opens the door. Mark is not expecting company, and when he opens the door, he is shirtless with messy hair and beard. (All I could imagine was Jason Mamoa from that point on, but I digress…) Stella is so stunned by Mark’s appearance, that all she can do is laugh. All Mark can wonder is why she is there.

Runaway is a wonderful addition to the Coffee Shop Girl Series. Mark and JJ did everything together their entire lives. Then JJ met Lizbeth. (You can read all about that in Lovesick.) When Stella shows up on Mark’s doorstep, he cannot imagine what she is doing at Adventura. She is supposed to be in Connecticut. It does not take Mark long to figure out that Stella is running, Mark can tell that she is scared. He believes he can keep her safe at Adventura. No one would travel that canyon road to go out to the middle of the woods so far from civilization. Katie Cross has created the definition of serenity in Adventura. The setting is where I often find myself traveling in my daydreams. When I want to escape, but I cannot leave the house, Adventura is the next best thing – the trees, the sounds of nature, water hitting the shore at the lake, the beauty of the snow-capped mountains, the peace of leaving the day-to-day stress of life – it can all be found at Adventura.

There is no way anyone can foresee how Stella’s arrival will change Mark’s life. After all, what can an accountant who likes everything in order have in common with a mountain man who hates details and drops everything in the blink of an eye when he gets an idea? Seriously?

Katie Cross delivers a surprising connection that no one could have foreseen. The more Mark gets to know about Stella, the more real her fears become, and the more both their lives could be in danger. Neither one wants to talk to the other, so how can they possibly help each other? The reader is taken on an emotional roller coaster as Stella’s fears are revealed. I laughed, cried, got angry, felt happiness. Name the emotion, and I felt it reading Runaway. Nonetheless, the is one roller coaster I did not want to end.

Not just Runaway but also Coffee Shop Girl and Lovesick, are wonderful romance novels with endearing characters and beauty that can only come from nature. Katie Cross writes clean novels that I would not mind allowing a mature teenager to read. Runaway was a wonderful addition, but it is not the only surprise Katie Cross has up her sleeve, and I can hardly wait.