by Anna Brooks
This book certainly fits ‘all the feels’ within the pages. “Missing Maverick” is the third book in the ‘Ryder Ranch’ series by Anna Brooks. I believe you can definitely enjoy it as a standalone.
Maverick and Cricket were best friends since childhood, which evolved into becoming high school sweethearts. They promised one another forever together, but then she left and the consequences for both of them were devastating. She throws herself into her career and find great success but leaves her feeling empty. Cricket also ends up in a loveless marriage with a man who treats her worse than abominably. (Connected with that, Royal Ace Security plays a small role in this story, which is particularly cool if you’ve read that series.) Maverick never dates, he just has emotionless hook-ups. He spent years drowning himself in hard work, liquor and meaningless sex. Oh, and he finds out he fathered a daughter when the girl is already 10 years old, and another child from an encounter he was too drunk to even remember. Despicable, right? Somehow when you have it all in context, you realize Maverick isn’t despicable at all.
When Cricket returns home to their small town, with plans to stay there permanently, she and Maverick and their families have a lot of feelings to deal with and adjusting to do. Throughout the book I kept wondering what Cricket was hiding about the reason she’d left more than a decade ago. I kept thinking of different possible scenarios. Well, nothing I imagined came close to what she later revealed. Whoa and Wow. She and Maverick kept trying to protect one another and protect their own broken hearts, and in the process kept unintentionally doing the exact opposite. The chemistry and undying love between them is so powerful, they can’t resist its pull even when they try.
Adding to the stress in this story are developments with the issue of Maverick’s mother, who abandoned his father, him and his siblings just months before Cricket vanished. I think whether or not you’ve read the previous books in the series, these scenes are powerful. It seems that the next book in the series will focus on Maverick’s father, and it’s pointing in an unexpected but interesting direction. In each book other family members play secondary roles and we learn more about what’s going on in their lives. I’m really hoping that we’re going to learn more about what happens in the future with Cricket and Maverick, because after experiencing this story I feel so emotionally invested in them!