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(Aftershock #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  480 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Love is the most dangerous territory of all . . .

Every day, bodyguard Owen Jackson puts his life on the line — and keeps his feelings for Penny Sandoval locked away. Assigned to protect Penny's father, a presidential candidate, Owen can't get emotionally involved. That is, until Penny and her young son, Cruz, are abducted and taken deep into the California badlands.

Owen kn
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Harlequin HQN
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  480 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of gritty romantic suspense
Updated 12/27/13...

Wow, what a story! Can't think of a single thing wrong with it, except...I'd kill for an epilogue! Jill Sorenson, please don't leave us hanging--can we see Owen and Penny again in a future book, just to see how they're doing?


 photo fc8bef30-2c13-4204-bf1c-40fcf215b59f_zps35e46d4f.jpg

This book had it all. A great story that was plenty intense, wonderful characters (it helped that we met them in the previous book--Aftershock) that we really got to know in this story; a truly gritty atmosphere (I could just sense the heat and
Jul 07, 2016 marked it as dnf

DNF at 65%.

I liked the main characters and remembered them well from their introduction in the author's previous novel, Aftershock. Unfortunately for me, the plausibility factor dwindled with every page until I gave up.

(view spoiler)

We met Owen and Penny back in the first book when Penny was a pregnant teen and Owen a convict and they were struck together in the San Diego earthquake and from the very first moment these two showed up on screen I knew they were meant to be together but their journey together wasn't simple. The reasons were several, Owen's conviction and ties with the Aryan brotherhood, the high political stature of Penny's dad.

The book opens five years later and Penny has spent those years being a good mom an
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How can you not be in love with young Owen? In the first book, Owen is a 21 year old tattooed, ex-con with possible ties to the AB. Penny was a 17 year old pregnant, Mexican-American, what is not to love with that set up. I would read the first book before you read this book, just so you have their full background. This book takes place 5 years later. Penny and her son Cruz are kidnapped for ransom and it is up to Owen to bring them to safety. Only problem, he might have to kill is brother Shane ...more
This is a decently paced, readable romantic suspense like one can expect from Sorenson. What is also not so surprising from Sorensen - but certainly unusual for this genre - is the nuanced (not overblown) way that this book addresses race, gender, and class. Both the heroine (an unwed, upper-class Latina teen mother) and the hero (a poor, "white trash" ex-con who joined the Aryan Brotherhood in prison for self-preservation) are shown to be influenced by but not limited to the charged identity ca ...more
I think I enjoyed Badlands a lot more than I'd expected to (more on that later).  The entire book is so intense and fast-paced, and it is entirely possible that it is my favorite of the Aftershock books so far... though Freefall  was also one I loved, so I really can't decide.

And the characters were so great!  I especially love the fact that we're building onto Owen's character from previous books, as well as the relationship between Penny and Owen from a known history between them.

The Story:
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have been waiting impatiently for this story ever since I read Aftershock, and it didn't disappoint. Heroine is welcomed back into her family, to a sense of safety she craves, only to find herself trapped in a pretty gilded cage. Hero finds himself making a deal with the heroine's father in order to grease a few wheels so people will look past his criminal record. Hero and heroine falling in love? Not really an option that will be embraced by, well.....anybody. Great read, definitely one of th ...more
Margreet Asselbergs
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing

My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️

Owen Jackson and a Penny Sandoval have a history. Five years ago he was a convicted felon and she was rejected by her parents due to her unplanned pregnancy when they where trapped together under an overpass after a massive earthquake. Owen had stood up for and by Penny through their ordeal and despite their vast differences in background, they came through close friends. Penny's father, already active in the political arena pulled so
Christi Snow
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Review:

We met Penny and Owen five years ago in the first book of this series when the overpass collapsed in the earthquake. At that point in time, Penny was 8 months pregnant, but Owen fell hopelessly in love with her then. She was 18, he was 21. She was the daughter of a powerful Latino congressman. He was a con and a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang. Not exactly an expected match. That's why five years later, they have a stilted relationship...more of an acquaintance than anything. He's
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a great conclusion to Owen and Penny’s story. If you haven’t read Aftershock I would recommend reading that book first so you understand the dynamic between these two and what its taken for them to finally get to a point where its possible for them to be together.

Owen and Penny met after an earthquake left them buried under a freeway. She was 16 and pregnant and estranged from her Mexican American family due to the pregnancy. Owen was 19, in prison and part of a white supremacist prison ga
Jill Sorenson is an author I know I can count on every time I read one of her stories. Badlands is the 3rd book in the Aftershock series. In Aftershock, we meet Penny where she was an 18 year old Latina who comes from wealth & is pregnant. We almost meet Owen, a convict but has a heart that wants to do the right thing. Owen falls for Penny the moment he saw her. Penny grew to care for Owen despite his appearances. In Badlands, we catch up with Penny and Owen five years later. After much work and ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
It is difficult for words to even begin to describe this romance novel. I understand that this is a work of fiction and a romance no less...but it is not science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy or a dystopian society or even where the rules of common sense have no meaning anymore. In these genres you need that lack sometimes to push the plot along..

I this book we have the first Mexican American running for president. One of his daughters had a baby out of wedlock and it makes it difficult
Lynn Spencer
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I cut my teeth on historicals and romantic suspense, so I always enjoy an excuse to dive back into either of these subgenres. This month’s TBR Challenge prompt of paranormal and rom susp gave me the perfect excuse. I’d read all but one of the books in Jill Sorenson’s Aftershock series and inexplicably the one I’d neglected was the one that intrigued me most.

Badlands reunites Owen Jackson and Penny Sandoval, two of the most fascinating characters from Aftershock. When readers last saw these
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book as part of a FirstReads giveaway. It's been a while since I read a romantic-suspense book, and I was happy to have received this one.

This was a little different from the typical book of this genre in that the heroine was the daughter of a Hispanic presidential candidate and the hero was an ex-felon, former member of the Aryan Brotherhood, former meth-user, and seriously damaged. You'd think you would not be able to root for this guy, but he's the heart-of-gol
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sorenson has come up with a different type of hero--one who has made really bad choices and willingly violated the law. I felt that we really get to know Owen much better than we know Penny. In fact, we get inside Janelle, a side character (who is featured in Shooting Dirty of the series, "Dirty Eleven MC") more than we really do Penny. Owen's family dynamics are front and center here and we see him learn from his experiences.

Wendy, this is my February title. I am behind on all of Sorenson's se
Mignon Mykel
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I had been anticipating this book since we first met Penny and Owen. Easily my favorite of the first 3 books :)

Will officially "back-blog" the first 3 booms in coming weeks on review blog..!
Yvonne Hailey
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is 1 of the best romantic suspense novels ever. Finally! Owen's book. He absolutely breaks my heart. His yearning for Penny & belief that he's not good enough 4 her is so touching. The romance is sweet but the action is a huge part of story. Very riveting. This is an awesome series ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a pleasant surprise! I picked this up on a whim from my local library and ended up finishing it in less than two days. Both characters were very relatable and mostly realistic. Owen is a damaged ex-con with a good heart and unrequited feelings for Penny. Penny is the single-mom daughter of a presidential candidate who has had feelings for Owen since he rescued her from an earthquake and helped her deliver her son. These characters seemed much more mature than their actual ages sugg ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Owen & Penny are altogether a much more intriguing match than what’s his face and Paramedic Lady from the first one. Also Owen’s vulnerability would win a literal corpse over. Also there’s a lot of unrealistic physical realities but literally who the fuck cares????
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Janet Robel
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very nicely written romantic suspense! The action makes this a page-turner you won't forget. ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
FTC: I requested this book from NetGalley after reading the first two from there. I have no relationship with the author.

This book should not be read alone as it is a continuation of a series arc. I do think that you need to see how Penny and Owen meet to appreciate how far each of them have come. At the time of their meeting, Penny was pregnant and Owen was part of a neo-Nazi criminal group all trapped together after an Earthquake. Over the course of that book, Owen did grow but I knew when I s
some of the detail was fantastic. i particularly liked how sorensen worked to make even her most extreme characters varied and believable. some good stuff here.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
As a presidential candidates daughter, Penny is used to being in the spotlight. Even though she wishes she could stay out of it and shield her young son Cruz, her father has always had a hold over her and he usually gets what he wants. What Penny wants can be boiled down to one answer, a who. She craves her fathers bodyguard Owen like nothing else. Yet he is aloof and uneffected by her even after all these years.

When Penny and Cruz are kidnapped Owen knows he has to get them back. He may appear
Trader (RedHotBlueReads)
Review also posted at:

Five years after the earthquake, Owen Jackson is working for the Sandoval family as Penny’s bodyguard. There’s still a whole truckload of feelings between these two, feelings that Owen is unable to act on for multiple reasons. The action heats up very quickly when Shane, Owen’s brother, orchestrates the abduction of Penny, Cruz and Owen.

The story takes off like a shot from this point f
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Another decently paced adventure romance from Sorenson, featuring two of the secondary characters from the first book in her Aftershock series. Penny Sandoval, daughter of a Republican Presidential candidate, has had strong feelings for her current bodyguard, Owen Jackson, ever since ex-con Owen helped Penny when they were trapped under a collapsed freeway after an earthquake. Owen, who considers himself poor white trash, doesn't need Penny's father to tell him he's not good enough for Penny, no ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Owen Jackson is trying to break away from his past. A former convict, Owen was a hero during a San Diego earthquake when he helped rescue a group of strangers trapped under a collapsed interstate. Penny Sandoval was in that group and despite her knowledge of his past she still develops feelings for Owen. Owen can’t be with Penny. For one, he is now her security guard since her father is running for president and two, he doesn’t think he deserves Penny. When Owen’s brother kidnaps Penny, her youn ...more
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I won Badlands by Jill Sorenson through Goodreads. This story is a romance with the added drama of a kidnapping, an escape, and the struggle to survive harsh elements and the pursuing criminals. It is part of a series in which the two main characters met in a previous book, but Badlands can be read as a standalone book.
Sorenson does not shy away from the issue of racism in this book. Racist attempts to manipulate politics is the stimulus for the kidnapping of Penny, the daughter of a Latino who
Starr Gardinier
Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it
“Badlands” by Jill Sorenson

It’s been a little while since I’ve read a great romantic suspense. I’m glad I picked this one up. “Badlands” has it all: suspense, danger, and definitely romance.

Penny Sandoval is the daughter of a presidential candidate and has a young son. She is kidnapped and unfortunately, her son Cruz is taken as well. Her friend and bodyguard Owen Jackson tries to stop the kidnapping and ends up getting involved.’s Owen’s own brother Shane who’s responsible.

The three of
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Jill Sorenson is the RITA-nominated author of more than a dozen novels, including the Aftershock series with HQN. She lives in the San Diego area with her husband and daughters.

Other books in the series

Aftershock (4 books)
  • Aftershock (Aftershock, #1)
  • Freefall (Aftershock, #2)
  • Backwoods (Aftershock, #4)

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