Running Scared

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Running Scared

Ashley Adams has left her abusive husband, Peter. She is stronger and more confident than she has been in a long time. Her hope is someday being the person she was and leaving the person she became behind. Part of her therapy is running with the reachable goal of completing the Marine Corp Marathon in DC. Helping her with her training and just being a friend is Marvin Jones. Marvin and Ashley run together and a couple days after Ashley's divorce becomes final, they are running through a good neighborhood when a car heads straight at them and a gunshot is fired. Though shaken, they are all right but the guy getting his paper behind them is dead. The guy is Paul Stoddard, a rich businessman.

Ashley is sure that even if the driver of the car wasn't her ex-husband, it was someone he hired to kill her. Peter had threatened that if he couldn't have her, no one could. Ashley is sure it is Peter when the water Marvin and she had put away to drink while running was poisoned putting Marvin in the hospital fighting for his life.

Homicide detective, Rick Edwards has been assigned to investigate the killing of a well to do businessman who was killed getting his paper. When he arrives on the scene he remembers Ashley from a domestic abuse call he had run several years before. He remembers her as being a scared timid woman who wouldn't even look him in the eye. He had tried to get her to leave her husband and seek help. He's glad she finally did and is surprised at the changes he sees. Rick has his own issues now. His daughter died and his wife killed herself. He's buried his grief by working. He's not sure he agrees with Ashley that her ex is trying to kill her but he's following every lead, even though that means spending a little more time with Ashley than he's comfortable with.

This book is very fast paced with lots going on and several people who had the reason to kill either Ashley or Paul Stoddard. The people wanting to kill Ashley are her ex- husband and the killer. Ashley's ex continues to call her with threats. Paul Stoddard divorced his wife of many years to marry a young trophy wife. His will was changed to give everything to the new wife. The old wife swears that he was going to change the will giving his sons what they deserve. The new wife knows nothing about this will change and says the old wife just can't accept that Paul left her. Of course, the new wife has a lover on the side. Add to this mix, the new wife's brother whom Paul found to be stealing from his business.

Ashley and Rick have issues that they have to face even if they really don't want to. Ashley is going to therapy and is trying to work through hers as best she can. There are things that she really doesn't want to deal with like flying. Rick thinks if he ignores things they will go away and he won't have to deal with them. After seeing how far Ashley has come from the woman he first met, he's being to think maybe meeting with the police psychiatrist isn't such a bad idea. Each character was dealing with life changing problems and their struggles became real. There are no quick fixes or instant cures showing the real problems that people cope with.

The lives that Ashley and Rick have are well developed and you get a good feel of who they are and what they do. The guys Rick works with are use to him putting in long hours and taking the late shifts as he has no interests outside of work. Ashley wants the best for her friends and when Marvin's daughters blame her for their father being in the hospital, she gives them all the space she can while still letting Marvin's wife know that she is there and cares. As Ashley and Rick grow closer, their desire to support each other is evident and their acceptance of the others support is touching.

While there are lots of people with motives to kill either Ashley or Paul, the end was still a surprise. Ms Norman did an excellent job keeping the killer a secret and yet when the secret is reveled, it makes sense.

Book Blurb for Running Scared

Although newly-divorced Ashley Adams thinks her ex-husband is trying to kill her, she's no longer running scared-months of therapy and determination have strengthened her resolve to stop being a victim, while months of dedicated training have prepared her to run her first marathon. Homicide detective Rick Edwards is coping with the deaths of his wife and daughter the only way he knows how-by focusing on his work. He is hoping to solve the murder Ashley witnessed during a training run, but first he must win her trust. It doesn't take Rick long to realize that Ashley Adams is hardly a damsel in distress. In the most unexpected of places, he may have found the one woman who can save him.


Cheryl Norman is the author of many romance titles, including Last Resort, which won the 2003 EPPIE award, and Restore My Heart. She lives outside Jacksonville, Florida.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2008 4.00