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Friday, October 15, 2010

Elopement for One by Fleeta Cunningham

Elopement for One (Santa Rita Series: Book Three) by Fleeta Cunningham
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (326 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia
The hour comes, the crowd awaits, and the groom impatiently stands at the altar, but Troy chooses not to attend the wedding – and she’s the bride!

Leaving behind the elaborate wedding along with a glittering solitaire, Troy flees a future tainted by her fear of the man she promised to marry. Childhood friend Zach stands waiting to help her escape…but answers her thanks with a stern warning:

“You leap into things, never think about the consequences, and then find you can’t get out of the mess. But, little girl, I promise this is the last time I’ll ride to your rescue.” Zach loves this beautiful girl, but he’s been getting her out of trouble most of her life. He’s had enough of her escapades.

Troy suspects she feels more than friendship for her childhood hero. In turning to him this time, she could lose him forever.

This “keeper”--with scenes of suspense that fill the heart with fears--bristles with conflicts, but it also purrs with a precious love. Since nobody believes Patricia Troy Richards, she runs to escape a marriage that would tie her to a man she has come to fear.

Elopement for One moves from the high society atmosphere of Dallas to the beautiful Texas hill country at bluebonnet time. The contrast of the two places mirrors Troy’s life. Her father J. P. Richards insists that she be the high society wife of Eric Townsend so he will be welcomed into that elite circle. Troy loves the quiet, laid-back life in the hill country where she can use her talents and not be concerned with social status. Her struggle to be her own person is spellbinding at times.

Zach Brown, big brother to Troy’s best friend Zarah, has rescued both girls from close calls all their lives. Not knowing the seriousness of her situation, as he helps her escape from the church, he scolds her saying, it is time for her to grow up and stop being a spineless scatterbrain. He says this is the last time he will help her. But he loves her and lives to rue the day he spoke so cruelly to her. When he knows the truth, he works to keep her safe while he tries to mend the riff in their life-long friendship. He battles require finesse, patience, and even vigilante efforts as he fights for the woman he has loved for years, while he watched her grow up.

Aunt Geneva, Zarah, Loco, and Critter are unforgettable characters that add a level of caring to the story that makes the heart feel good. Loco and Critter, the jilted groom’s sisters, know him for what he is and learned how to deal with him out of self-defense. They have their own special brand of coping that adds humor and heart-pounding suspense to Troy’s efforts to outmaneuver both her dad and Eric.

The bulldozer father J. P. Richards has some hard lessons to learn. However, Eric Townsend becomes the adversary from hell that keeps the nerves on a screaming edge. His actions truly set the blood boiling.

Fleeta Cunningham creates a fantastic love story that is ever-present among all the conflicts and the happy, fulfilling moments that Troy has as she matures. Zach and Troy truly become hero and heroine as they recognize their very special connection that is deep and true, in spite of all the misunderstandings. Ms.Cunningham’s vivid descriptions touch the senses so the reader can almost see the thunderstorms, smell the fields of herbs and flowers, feel the swirling fog as it disorients and chills the terrified Troy.

Elopement for One hums with activities of daily living, sizzles with strong emotions, and sparkles with a love that tiptoes its way into a happy-ever-after.