The author’s original intent for “Escape!” was a fast-paced romantic thriller suitable for escaping boredom while flying on a coast-to-coast airliner. While gazing at the rolling landscape beneath the wings, Henderson imagined a hot fugitive couple running from cold contract killers, while eluding pursuit by the FBI and every other law enforcement agency along their 2000-mile route from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean. Among the plot’s surprises was one for the author: the unexpected emergence of the assertive and spicy Elissa Bennett Pope as the story’s brightest star.
Elissa is the daughter of Italian-American parents in Chicago’s wealthiest suburb, groomed from puberty to marry a multi-millionaire like Patrick Livingston Pope, heir to Chicago’s Pope Machinery empire. Unfortunately, her prize had become a pugilist, beating her to pulp from time to time. Her desperate urge for freedom ended in a bitter divorce, and she escaped with just enough resources to become an independent real estate broker, property manager, and — for personal therapy — a summer stock theatrical performer.
When California architect Grey Harper arrived in peaceful Lake Forest to convert a former military base into a $60 million luxury housing development, Elissa’s agency found a suitable cottage for him to rent. It was while meeting in that cottage that a strange intruder set in motion Elissa’s most hectic escape ever — running with Harper for their lives, for more than 2000 miles in a Mercedes-Benz roadster, to a clifftop climax at Harper’s spectacular home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Throughout the journey, Elissa is never quite sure whether Harper is just a brilliant architect with a California tan, water-blue eyes surrounded by crinkles whenever he smiled, a masculine voice and a wry sense of humor — or a widower with a dark past, accused by the FBI of murdering his Chicago client to cover-up a major screw-up. Elissa’s survival is at stake in either case, and she must always rely upon her own wits and courage and cash, every minute of every day — and night!
Online reader reviews of this novel have all posted four or five stars, including this brief comment: "If you're looking for a fun read, you've found it! The pace and twists rank right up there with Dan Brown but with better developed characters and a more realistic (but no less exciting!) plot, making this a book that's hard to put down." (Posted by MariC on Amazon)