Don’t Back Down is the 1st book in the Jubilee, Kentucky Series! As of Sep 2023, there are only 2 books in this series, but a 3rd is due out in Feb 2024.
Knowing a few book details about a book always helps me to understand the story a little better!
Don’t Back Down was published in March 2023.
It’s classified, according to Amazon, as a small town & rural fiction, a suspense novel and a romantic suspense book!
I would also add contemporary and maybe even a thriller to the classification of this story.
I would consider this story to be a second chance romance but also a “one that got away” type of romance too!
This is a full-length novel with 366 pages.
It’s a suspense novel because the two main characters have to solve a problem and it’s a doozy!
There’s little to no swearing or foul language used by these characters.
You’ll find one sexy scene in this story with a few details, with a couple others mentioned in passing, but not a lot of detail in those.
The setting of the story is that of the rural area around Jubilee, Kentucky and Pope Mountain. The families of Pope, Cauley, and Glass all joined together to make sure this area is safe for their families.
While the main focus of this story is centered around Cameron Pope and Rusty Caldwell, there are pieces of the people of Jubilee and area that make an appearance as well.
Cameron Pope is an army veteran that’s come home to Jubilee, Kentucky after serving. He was a bomb specialist and tracker in the army and found Ghost, a german shepherd, that “adopted” him in Iraq!
Ghost is a character in the story as well. Ghost is a extra large german shepherd who just happens to be all white – hence the name Ghost!
Ghost came home with Cameron!
As a dog lover myself, I enjoyed having this dog as a character. It reminded me of my own dog Tucker!
The story starts out with a very harrowing scene where Cameron’s 4yr old niece is kidnapped. Cameron and Ghost come to the rescue and not only find Lili but also bring the man down who took her.
But this opens up a whole can of worms that brings in Faith “Rusty” Caldwell.
And the fun part is: Rusty and Cameron had a romantic one night together several years before just before he left for his last mission. No names were exchanged so they didn’t know how to find each other, but they never forgot each other.
Rusty just so happens to be an FBI agent. She’s been undercover for several missions and was injured. Now on a forced R & R, she plans to just rest and recuperate when she gets called to “rest” at her family’s hotel.
She’s asked to go undercover at her aunt’s and uncle’s large hotel located in Jubilee, Kentucky. You see, there’s a human trafficking ring with Jubilee and their community at the heart of this ring. There are women and children being kidnapped to be sold into the sex slavery and the children sold.
Rusty goes to Jubilee not knowing that Cameron is there too. He was her “soldier boy” that got away. She always regretted not getting her soldier’s number, so when she finds out that he’s in Jubilee and the contact she’s to connect with she’s overjoyed and scared at the same time.
The scene where they meet again is tender and sweet!
Now while they’re reconnecting and renewing their relationship, they’re also trying to solve this human trafficking ring that’s settled in Jubilee.
As an FBI agent, Rusty has the skills and knowledge to solve this case.
As Cameron is from Jubilee, he’s familiar with the area and the people enabling them to get into places they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. And because he’s an army vet, he has the clearance to help an FBI agent!
So, together they not only find the head boss of this trafficking ring, they help the citizens feel safe. While getting to know each other again.
And of course, because it’s a romance, they decide to build a life together and she retires from the FBI and comes home to Jubilee to stay with Cameron.
I enjoyed this story immencely! I also thought it was very similar to another of Sharon Sala’s stories. If you read Don’t Cry for Me, book 2 in the Rebel Ridge Series, you’ll see huge similarities between these stories.
Both have an army vet coming home and dealing with all that entails. Both have a dog that plays a part in the storyline. Both have a couple coming back together to not only rekindle their romance but to build on it. Both are really good stories.
This story leads into the next story easily. Book 2, Last Rites, is about another Pope family.