Combatting Fear (Review)

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher Neve Botticelli leads a double life. Thanks to a childhood tragedy and her paranoid father, she’s a survivalist who’s learned to live off the grid.

When self-made billionaire Micah Kincaid storms into town in search of his son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything she despises. Micah can’t believe a kindergarten teacher is barring the way to him getting crucial information or even just a glimpse of the boy his cheating ex kidnapped. They share only one thing in common: either will do anything to protect the four-year-old, who they soon discover is being held for ransom by an outlaw motorcycle gang.

But as they work together to get Rowan back, they start to see beyond each other’s masks. Could falling in love be even more dangerous than hunting down deadly criminals?

This book was difficult for me to rate. It felt like there were two parallel aspects to the plot, so I’ll talk about each of them in turn. The main line of the story centers on Micah Kinkaid trying to regain his kidnapped child and explores the extent of the question: how far would a father go for his child?

This aspect of the plot was well done as it progressed from what seemed to be a mere case of run-away mom to a full-blown gang threat and lives at stake. At each twist and turn, whether Micah would be reunited with his son and have a happy ending in that regard was made even more suspenseful and toward the end, my heart lurched for Rowan. It was definitely full of action and kept you guessing at how everything would play out in the final showdown.

I loved how fully Micah threw himself into finding his son, and his desperation and raw emotion were very believable. Despite his worth as a rich businessman, his desire to physically find his son spoke volumes to his love for him and very much supported his consistent claim throughout the story that family was the most important thing to him. It definitely was a huge aspect of his character and the progression of his development throughout the book.

The other aspect to the story was the development of a romance between Micah and the other main character, Neve. This part of the story felt forced to me. It was made very clear that Micah and Neve were different, and I suppose opposites attract, but the actual explanation and development of their romance at times seemed contradictory to the actual characters.

Neve did not seem like the type of character to lose control of herself and as the reader, trying to understand her feelings and thoughts was difficult. Half the story was supposedly told from her point of view, but I never felt like I was in her mind or seeing things from her perspective, other than visually. I felt like there was more ‘telling’ than ‘showing’ when it came to some of their behaviors and at times, it seemed that Micah and Neve were physically attracted to each other, but beyond that I didn’t understand what was really there.

While I could fully understand the confusion when in Micah’s point of view to Neve’s motivations for helping him, when in Neve’s point of view, it was still very unclear.

As for Micah, I could see his confliction and emotional instability for much of the story. Though there were still times that I didn’t quite understand his being drawn toward Neve either. I think he was conflicted due to the situation he was in trying to find his estranged wife and kidnapped son, though at times it felt more like he just wasn’t sure what to make of Neve or if she was really a woman he would be in to.

I will say that toward the end, it was clear that they did love each other and wanted to find a way to be together despite their differences. And their romance was much more warming and believable once the official showdown was closer. As a result of the entire conflict with the kidnapping and rescue, the characters’ trauma and changes were very felt and made a difference that was understandable to their development. I would definitely say it ended well.

Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It really was difficult for me to rate since I loved the action and it was clear the plot with the kidnapping was thought out and well written and developed, but the two main characters left me confused and wanting at times. However, if you’re looking for something filled with action and a warming story about what a parent would do for a child, check it out and see what you think.

I was asked to review this book.

If you would like to check out Combatting Fear, it’s available from Amazon for $4.99.

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