This book was actually one of the better written ones in recent years until the ending. And perhaps that's why so many negative reviews. (Stop reading if you don't want spoilers). First of all, the final rescue was all off screen. That's lazy writing. It has so much potential for fun, all of which was wasted! Secondly, she tantalizes us all book with the notion that something is finally going to change in Stephanie's relationship with Ranger. Certainly, Ranger seems to be more forthcoming. But then NONE of it pays off. Stephanie goes back to Morelli with nothing changed. I felt cheated, misled and shortchanged.
One of the things Romance Writers of America are taught is that you offer your readers a fantasy. It's a promise, a bond. Break that promise and you lose your readers. I'm starting to wonder if Janet Evanovich has mistaken what fantasy people are buying her books for. I know I've liked Ranger far more than Joe Morelli for a very long time. Joe is boring. Nothing new. More enjoyable in real life but disaster for a story. I'd rather see Ranger cope with her family and thrown off balance for a change. That would be fun.
So, this is my plea to the author. Shake things up. Characters need to evolve at least a little, to show some change or arc. Part of that is showing them placed out of their normal element so readers can see what happens. How will they react? We want a bit of uncertainty to keep reading. And for heaven's sakes DON'T fail to deliver the fantasy you promise all book. If all we wanted was a retread we could read an earlier book instead of shelling out good money for a new one.