The Mysterious Stranger by Ainslie Paton
I had already read One Night Wife and when I heard that Rory was getting her own happy ending, I knew I had to rush out and read this. I begged an ARC off the author. (She was looking for readers, I didn’t just accost her in the street).
After she screwed up the last project, Rory is keen to prove herself again. This time she’s working with her lifelong best friend Zeke and they’re going to infiltrate a doomsday cult! Rory adores Zeke, but he’s strictly in the friend zone as far as she’s concerned… but Zeke has been in love with Rory for as long as he can remember.
I love a good friends to lovers story.
The doomsday cult was really quite disturbing. At one point I was genuinely anxious that they wouldn’t get out of it unscathed. (Arguably, they weren’t unscathed at the end because the cult stuff does mess with the mind). The amount of research that had gone into the book was impressive – the cult was completely believable and very claustrophobic.
Zeke is a big softie and goes out of his way to be kind to individuals, to the point of almost risking the operation. Rory is learning to forgive herself – and the indoctrination into the cult doesn’t help matters in that regard. All the while, they are slowly eroding the internal barriers that stop them from telling each other how they really feel.
I really enjoyed this book and I’ll look out for more from this author. I read an ARC. This is my honest review.