D. L. Wood's novel Unintended Target (2015) is a fascinating romantic thriller which shows Chloe McConnaughey making a trip for Terra Traveler as a travel photographer to the Caribbean island of St. Gideon. Although it's an all expense paid trip, readers are reminded about her dysfunctional family, and reasons for going there. (Caution readers - spoilers are ahead).
In Miami her brother Tate - a computer whiz was killed in a car crash. From the inception Chloe is being pursued even when she takes up residence at the seaside town Binghamton. There she meets a divorcee Jack, an NYU English professor turned beach concierge, and an engaging encounter ensues. As they were about to leave Mendoza's restaurant she had a flat tire. Since she didn't have a spare Jack offered to bring her home and replace it the next day, but once there she was attacked, and her cottage ransacked. Jack instinctively returned to her place just in time to help her. Afterward both ended up at the hospital, but later she visited Sampson at the local police station and he ended up giving her a gun for her protection.
Chloe was to meet Jack again at an Italian restaurant and going for a spin in a catamaran. Soon Wood shows her enjoying a photo shoot on one of St. Gideon's magnificent landscapes. But it was not until she returned to her cottage from visiting her friend Ruby did the action really pick up. She discovered that Ruby was gone, but once at home Sampson whom she had called for help proved to be an accomplice. What followed was a well-described struggle, Chloe's abduction, and eventual escape.
After telephoning Jack who himself had to fight off intruders at his boathouse, he was able to make a daring escape to reunite with her. These events were vividly portrayed in beautiful language. To their surprise they found out what the attackers were after. That was her deceased brother Tate's flash drive which was mailed for her safe keeping by Attorney Herbert K. Rohrstadt from Miami. By Chapter Twenty-Two Wood's imagination is most vivid with scenes at Shores Motel and showing how they were able to evade their assailants. On their way to another hotel, Chloe lost the flash drive which contained pertinent information from Tate which they had just started to view. Again they were able to slip away from their assailants.
The author cleverly shifts the scene to Manny and Marta. It was Manny - Jack's friend, who arranged for them to escape from the island via a trawler to Puerto Rico in route to Miami. While aboard this vessel Chloe discovered Jack's true identity, and there was a tense moment when she held a gun to his chest demanding that he must explain himself. This Jack was able to do by describing his days as a Navy Seal, marital problems with Lila, and why he was now using an alias. Once Chloe Googled his story and was satisfied, a long discussion ensued about the Christian religion and why bad things happen to good people.
Once in Miami, Chloe and Jack were rearmed. While they were at a coffee shop Jack learned that Rohrstadt had died. Jack later left to track down his secretary Elena Grabney and promised to give her ten grand of the money when they recover it. However, Chloe went to Inverse to speak with its CEO, Renny DiMeico. During their conversation he was nervous and described his attempts to nab her in the Caribbean. Chloe fearing the worse, drew her gun on him. But shortly, they were joined by Korrigan and Vargas and was forced to drop it. Jack who was in a cab heading back to her, having talked to Elena tried to reach her but couldn't. Nevertheless, he was able to track Chloe through her GPS as being still at Inverse. DiMeico wanted twenty million back from her which he accused Tate – her brother, from stealing from his company.
By Chapter Thirty-Five onwards we witness Wood's powers as a novelist to build the drama of Tate's life and DiMeico's shady business dealings. Chloe by now was truly his captive. It was Jack and Riley – Jack's Navy Seal buddy, who were able to invade DiMeico's well-guarded mansion. Once inside this building the action heats up, guards were wounded with the expert use of their arms during their mission. Eventually, they were able to rescue Chloe and escape from DiMeico's estate. DiMeico however remained safe - for during the commotion, he was able to lock himself in the panic room. After having accessed details from Riley's computer through her pendant, Jack, Chloe and Riley decided to retrieve the contents from a deposit box at “Bio-Tite” which Tate had inserted on the flash drive.
Wood's plot really thickens as Chloe's attempts to retrieve a card for the “Fourth Bank of Grand Cayman,” when they were intercepted - Jack being shot, and Riley eventually was able to track her down in Vargas vehicle's trunk. But Korrigan while being questioned by DiMeico over the stashed-away funds, lies and betrayals came to light, which resulted in both men shooting and killing each other. Shortly afterward, Chleo had no choice but to go to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Later, Chloe and Riley were able to visit Jack who by this time was taken by paramedics to a hospital. At the hospital when they were all together again, they were visited by a U.S. Attorney who advised them that they were free, and they won't be extradited to St. Gideon to face murder charges. For Sampson had disappeared under rather suspicious circumstances.
In this her first book of the series it's for you the readers to find out what happens at the conclusion of this thriller. Suffice it to say that Wood did a masterful job in presenting us with the struggle of good versus evil. From the inception of Unintended Target it seems as though her heroes and heroines will always have Jesus Christ on their side. A word of caution though – the conflicts in this book will be well received by readers or viewers (if it's made into a movie) are able to overlook the many violent episodes depicted by Wood.