The Ideal Man

The Ideal Man - Julie Garwood Dr. Ellie Sullivan has completed her residency in the ER at St. Vincent’s hospital and is planning to move on…to where, she’s not sure. A few days before her final one at the hospital, she decides to go jogging at a nearby park and runs into an FBI sting. Ellie unfortunately is now at risk since she may be able to identify the man who shot one of the agents. She also gets the attention of Agent Max Daniels who was on the scene and accompanied the felled agent to the hospital where Ellie performed the surgery to save his life. Additionally, Ellie’s is the focus of a stalker from her childhood who almost killed her when she was eleven years old. She’s led an unconventional life since, attempting to move on with her life under a cloud of anonymity and secrecy. To further complicate matters, Ellie is a prodigy, having graduated from college at sixteen.Both Ellie and Max experience an undercurrent of attraction for each other but are unwilling to acknowledge or pursue it. He’s not looking to be in a relationship and she cannot afford the commitment given the circumstances of her life. However, when the FBI determines Ellie needs protection until they can capture the shooter, who is wanted for other crimes, Max inexplicably, decides to assume that responsibility after Ellie has returned home to Winston Falls, South Carolina for her sister’s wedding.The relationship between Ellie and Max has all the typical elements of a Garwood romance. Max is the sexy, good looking commitment phobic hero to Ellie’s disarming qualities. She has every reason to be fragile but has resiliency and grit under her fair skin and is an appealing heroine. While Max doesn’t exactly fit the image she’s created as her “ideal man,” her attraction to him is beyond her resistance. Both have their share of baggage and it adds another layer of tension as they find their feelings for each other deepening.Max’s protection of Ellie from the park shooter and the threat of the stalker’s return underscore this entire story, providing added tension to the developing relationship between the two and that of Ellie’s family. Ellie and her twin sister, Ava, are at odds, her father is over protective and her mother is in denial. All this unfolds during the week prior to Ava’s wedding with all the drama associated with a high stress event. This is an interesting story with well-developed, likeable characters (Ava being the one exception). You become invested in Max and Ellie and root for their relationship. My only criticism is many aspects of the story wrap too hurriedly towards the end, as if there was a need for immediate closure. It was, however, a pleasure to see a reference to one of the Buchanan men from the Buchanan-Renard series. Let’s hope that’s a sign that there’s another book coming in that series. If you’re a fan of that one, you’ll like this story.