The Last Breath
By Kimberly Belle
Harlequin Mira, 2014
Gia Andrews takes a leave of absence from her career as an international aid worker to return to Rogersville, TN, her hometown, to take care of her father, who has been imprisoned for 16 years for killing her stepmother. He was released from prison because he is dying from cancer and arranged to receive hospice and die at home. Gia, who has not spent time in her hometown since her stepmother’s murder, has to come to terms with her father’s crime, her siblings’ (who live locally) lack of interest in their father, and her uncle, who is also her father’s lawyer. Gia’s time in Rogersville takes an interesting twist when she meets Jake, a sexy restaurant owner who runs a local place, the Roadkill Bar and Grill, and who falls for her. The book alternates between Gia’s time at home and the last days of her fahter’s life, and the period leading up to the death of her stepmother, Ella Mae.
Published by Harlequin, this book has its share of steamy sex scenes, both between Gia and Jake, and her stepmom Ella Mae, and the men in her life. I enjoyed the book the most for its portrait of small town America, where everyone knows everything about each other and the impact that had on Gia and her siblings after their father committed a terrible crime. This is also a story about home, and how Gia grew to feel more at home working in a crisis or war situation, than in the town she grew up in, because of the shame she felt about her father. And the book also explores whether or not Ray Andrews killed his wife, and who else might have done it. Described as suspenseful women’s fiction, The Last Breath is a good read, with believable characters, a poignant story and some fun sex scenes.
Belle lives in Atlanta and has spent time living overseas, mainly in Holland.