There is a rumor swirling about Dr Reid, a bad one. Even though the school's Ethics Committee absolved him of all responsibility, the gossip is that he killed his previous grad student.
He seems stern and remote and Jenna is terrified as she approaches him. She refuses to let him see her fear. She finds that figuratively stiffening her spine gives her the courage to treat him with the respect due to a colleague without letting the fear take over.
Mal sees in her a plain girl who is strong enough to carry the equipment needed, but how will she handle the lack of facilities in the desert? He is not used to a woman who asks questions and says exactly what is on her mind.
Mal seems to use the words "Trust me" a lot to Jenna. She does and is never sorry that she did, no matter what the situation. But it takes them several weeks of working together to trust each other with their pasts, their secrets. It takes less than that for Mal to admire the way the sun glints off Jenna's hair. Jenna has already noticed the angles of his face and the strength of his lean body. Any thoughts of getting familiar with each other must remain just that – thoughts. Any physical contact between them would result in them both being thrown out of the university.
The dialogue seems like it would really take place between two intelligent, educated people. We're used to the hero and/or heroine being gorgeous enough and sexy enough to stop traffic. Mal and Jenna are two nice looking people, but neither one will win a beauty contest. We're also getting used to the hero always being a stud billionaire. Not in this book. Mal and Jenna are two hard working people who need their grants and their jobs.
There are several geologic terms used with which the reader might be unfamiliar, but we can certainly understand the story without reverting to a dictionary.
This book is a definite 5. Coming from me, a person who loves the great indoors, I have to say that Ms Ugolini makes the grit and rocks of the outdoors seem very attractive. And there's no denying that there are millions of stars to see out there at night. This book is a must read for anyone who prefers people getting to know each other before jumping into bed and who actually like each other and talk to each other. This story isn't only about earthquakes, which are exciting enough. It's also about how mutual reserve can turn to trust, then liking, then love.
I'm looking forward to reading more books from this author.