Wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars. The substory is good and the heart and emotion between the two protagonists is intense--sure at times it skates feeling like I'm being manipulated, but then the story sucks you in again and I forget. There's a good deal of graphic violence depicted by supporting characters that may disturb some readers. Unfortunately, it's real and while one could argue whether it is gratuitous in this story, it certainly isn't in real life. As an escapist activity, the reminder might be more than some readers will want to acknowledge.Sexy, alpha male and retiring heroine with hidden strength gives a sense of lusciousness and security all in one.