Shelly Myers fled Dallas soon after Troy, her husband of a scant few minutes, was gunned down by vicious drug dealer and assassin Eddie Victor. She returned to Bobcat Ridge, her tiny Appalachian hometown as soon as her testimony put the callous killer on death row
Two years later, Shelly’s father suffers a massive heart attack; with him in the hospital four hours away, and Shelly’s mother watching over him, Shelly realizes she is well enough--must be well enough--to run her parents’ rafting business during its summer peak. Helping her parents out suddenly isn’t enough; their financial future depends squarely on her.
Exhausted by the long drive into Nashville and back, as well as worries over her father’s health and medical bills, Shelly is stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of Dallas cop Reed Tanner--her husband’s best friend, best man--and someone who shouldn’t have materialized out of the growing darkness like a ghost. Or a bad memory.
Though it pains him more than Shelly could imagine, Reed feels like a bad memory. Guilt still pummels him that if he hadn’t exited the church with his newlywed friends, he might have saved Troy. Would at least have been in a position to try.
But the worst part of the memory trip is informing Shelly that cop-killing Eddie Victor’s conviction was overturned. Not only is the drug lord out of prison--he swore to kill Shelly for the damning testimony that led to his conviction.
Unable to run, the past comes back to assault Shelly and Reed with a vengeance. They survived death once by inches and minutes.
Troubling emotions and feelings bewilder both--a much loved husband, a much loved friend--when is it too soon to move on? With a killer stalking them, when is it too late?
Trish Milburn has been on my to be read list for some time, but when Firefly Run came out on Amazon with a free promotion, I swooped in--and began reading it within seconds and finished it within an hour or two. Shelly and Reed are memorable and sympathetic enough that I set what might be a new record--teary eyes on page two. Their struggles to live emotionally are as gripping as the danger the sinister Victor represents to physical life.
Additionally, Milburn obviously knows the charms and occasional pains inherent in small town life. I spent most of my childhood in small southern times, and the friendliness (and curiosity) of neighbors, the beauty of spaces without concrete and buildings--she brings it all to life realistically and lovingly.
Firefly Run also presents an alternative to many contemporaries in that while searing sexual tension builds between Shelly and Reed and is eventually acted upon, the sex is not as prominent a part of the story as in many other cases. I mention this because of a conversation with colleagues I had shortly before the end of the year. One of my friends, who once read voraciously, said she had simply grown bored with not having anything left to her imagination and seldom read; a colleague thirty years younger than she and I said she felt much the same, although she still read. Clearly this isn’t important to everyone, but if you feel as my colleagues do--you’ll probably enjoy that about Firefly Run as well as all its other attributes.
Firefly Run charmed me totally, and I look forward to reading more of Trish Milburn’s work. Sooner rather than later!