The Ideal Man
by Julie Garwood
(Dutton, $26.99, PG-13) 978-0-5259-5225-1
The Ideal Man is an exciting and thrilling romance about a woman who's been scared her whole life and man determined to protect her. The plot is exciting and makes this book a must read.

Ellie Sullivan is a young trauma surgeon who has just finished her fellowship. She doesn't know where she wants to go next because she doesn't know where Evan Patterson is. Ellie was a child prodigy and starting at age 11, Evan had a sick affinity to her. He would never leave her alone and attacked her twice, one time leaving her for dead. Evan's parents did nothing but protect him, so he was always found to be mentally unstable and sent to hospitals, not prison. He was released six months ago and no one knows where he is.

Ellie is wound up due to a long day a work and the stress of trying to figure out her future. She sets out jogging on a nearby track and witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent by a couple indentified as the Landrys. She runs to help him and ends up taking him to the hospital to remove the bullet herself. When she finishes the surgery, she finds Max Daniels waiting for her. He is also an FBI agent and is there to take Ellie's statement. Ellie is instantly drawn to him, but intimated at the same time.

Max is from Honolulu and has been trying to catch a Landrys for years. They almost had them, but something went wrong and a fellow agent went down. They have been unsuccessful in taking down the Landrys because every time a witness is named, they turn up dead. While he is still hoping for a witness, he's also hoping that Ellie isn't one of them. He is instantly fond of her and while he wouldn't mind spending more time with her to protect her, he doesn't want her to be in any danger.

A quick background check reveals her past troubles with Evan Patterson. Max vows to locate him so Ellie can have some peace of mind. Ellie is leaving for Winston Falls to help with her sister's wedding. Max decides to go as well, since he has been unsuccessful in finding Evan and the Landrys have now become a threat. Even though Ellie was not able to identify them in mug shots, the Landrys believe she knows more and Max finds out that they have hired a hit man. He has promised to be Ellie's shadow, which isn't the worst job in the world.

The Ideal Man is a fast paced and attention grabbing book. It's a longer book than most romance novels, but it flows well and does not drag. Its plot is interesting and engaging. There isn't a big overwhelming climax at the end, but instead several moments throughout the book that are intense. I think this helped keep my attention and made it more enjoyable than books that make you wait.

Ellie and Max's relationship is fun to watch. They don't fight it or beat around the bush, but seem to embrace it. The intimate scenes could be hotter, but the intention is there and works for the story. The end is predictable as usual, but still satisfying,

The secondary characters are also enjoyable to get to know. Ellie's sister Annie has an intriguing story and I got the sense that there could easily be a sequel, but the end of the book tied up all the loose ends really fast. I would like to see Annie's situation continue in her own book.

The Ideal Man had my attention from the first page. It's definitely a book I recommend.

--Nichole Howell

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