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Friday, February 26, 2010

Common Grounds by Michelle Levigne



Common Grounds: A Tabor Heights Novel by Michelle Levigne
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short (149 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Hannah Blake had given up on more than partnership with Xander Finley -- in their legal clinic. Resistance from a local judge and another lawyer, and finding the body of the 3rd victim of a serial killer complicated the move to a second office in Tabor Heights.

When the killer appeared to have chosen Hannah as his next 'true love', Xander's attentions became warmer and more personal. Hannah knew better than to hope it would last beyond the crisis. Foxhole love wasn't any more real than foxhole religion. Xander, on the other hand, was glad his eyes had finally been opened. The problem was convincing Hannah that he was for real. It was time to pray for more than her safety.

This may be rated ‘sweet’ and in the terms of the heat rating, and this is accurate, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is all sugar and spice and all things nice. This is a hard-hitting, fast-paced story that grabs you from the first to the last page.

Paralegal Hannah Blake finds herself up close and personal with a murderous situation, and finds she's playing the lead role of intended victim.

Once again we meet many of the citizens of Tabor Heights and are taken into the psyche of the hero and heroine in a way only Michelle Levigne can manage. There are more twists and turns in this story than you’ll find on a mountainous switchback road.

Through it all the two main characters rebuild their faith in their God and gratefully accept the power of the prayer circles in their church community.

When the path to true love stalls their friends protect, support, guide, plot and scheme to bring Hannah and Xander together but in the heat of all the action, can they succeed?

Once again Ms. Levigne's ability to create characters you may meet anytime in real life strengthens the connection between her readers and her characters. Her cast, major and minor, all have depth that ensures you care about them, and laugh and cry with them, or you hate them and wish that like her characters, you can remember you should not be wishing your enemies to perdition.

Every story in the Tabor Heights series is a story worth reading, but for me this is the best in the series so far. This one is a keeper, and if you enjoy heart-warming relationships, gut wrenching suspense, angst and revenge, all wrapped up in the daily lives of a small community, then this is definitely a book for you.

Bound By Love by April Dawn



Bound By Love by April Dawn
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (245 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Chloe Adderley is on the run from an unwanted marriage and a father who is far more dangerous than she realizes.

Faced with an ultimatum that she can't accept: marry the man or starve to death in her room, running to her grandmother's house in Italy seems to be the only choice. She will pretend to be a governess, and hire a ship to take her there. It is a flawless plan. When she is robbed and knocked unconscious, however, she never suspects that the man who finds her will mistake her for a harlot.

Captain Darion Bannon is dismayed to discover that the unconscious woman he has taken aboard is actually an innocent lady. They find themselves falling in love, and Darion admits that he is a Privateer for the Sons of Liberty. When they are arrested for piracy, as the Crown calls it, they face a cruel prison and transportation to the Colonies, and Darion must fight to keep the woman he loves. Only their love can help them survive the cruel twists of fate.

Chloe Adderly’s father, with his dark secrets, deceits, greed, and grief becomes so cruel Chloe runs away thinking that she is too much a reminder of her mother and that is what makes her father mean to her. Unaware of how dangerous the docks are for a lone woman, she receives even more harsh treatment and regains consciousness on a pirate ship.

Darion Bannon, captain of the ship, is much more than a pirate, but he is good at his assignment and enjoys the dangerous work. Believing Chloe is a prostitute down on her luck; he saves her from ruffians and puts her in his cabin not realizing his life would never be the same again.

Chloe Adderly is a strong heroine that withstands adversity and heartbreak while remaining true to her self. She refuses to admit defeat against tremendous odds to reach her happy-ever-after.

Hannah and Robert, servants that help Chloe escape; Duncan, Jon, Wilkins on the ship; Amy in Newgate; and people at Ravenswing add depth and strong emotion to the amazing love story of Darion and Chloe. The loyalty they give to Chloe is a reflection of how she relates to others.

The horrors of Newgate added to all the other mistreatments seem to overshadow the love story. However, the sizzling love scenes and the truly faithful friends that stand by Chloe, even when Darion fails her, makes Bound By Love good reading.

Bride of the Wolf by Susan Krinard



Bride of the Wolf by Susan Krinard
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Riding off into the sunset... can be deadly.

Rachel Lyndon yearns to escape her scandalous past, but her dreams for a better life seem ruined after she buries her fiancé on the Texas plains.

Heath Renier has been evading the law by the skin of his teeth for years. Now he's found a new identiy as Holden Renshaw, foreman of Dog Creek Ranch. But the arrival of his boss's mail-order bride, now a widow, upsets his fragile peace and threatens to expose his deadly secrets.

Rachel knows that the mysterious and savagely handsome Holden is the last man she should trust - especially once she's seen glimpses of his true nature. Whe he's suspected of killing his employer, she has a terrible choice to make. But the heat of his gaze ignites something seductive and irresistible within her. No matter how dangerous the road ahead, she's determined to give him the one thing he's never truly believed he deserves: her undying love.

Some secrets can kill. Other’s can delight. In the case of Heath and Rachel, it’s what they don’t know that can cause the biggest issue, or bring them the closest together. But you need to read their story to get the full effect. What story? Bride of the Wolf by Susan Krinard.

If I want a great romance, I tend to go with more modern stories, but this historical really grabbed my attention. I like the world Ms. Krinard creates. You feel like you are there in Dog Creek with Heath and Rachel. The supporting cast in this story helps round out the story. You want to see the characters succeed and then there are those you want to see get their just deserts.

The plot of this story is a bit complicated and can take a little pacing to keep it all straight, but if you do, it’s totally worth it. You never know what twist the story will take and when it does, it’s worth the time.

Rachel, despite her tendency to tell half-truths, is a good heroine. Although she can be a tad cool and skittish, she knows what she wants and is willing to put herself through hell to make it happen. I liked seeing her bond with Gordie. That was touching. By the end of the story, my respect for her grew by leaps and bounds.

I liked Heath, but there were times I felt he acted a bit gruff. The more I got through the story, I saw why he acts the way he does and when he removes the tough-guy veneer for a short time, it’s refreshing. But you respect his sense of duty—to Rachel and to Gordie.

There is a tenderness that runs through this story—be it between Rachel and Heath, or Joey and Heath, or even Rachel, Heath, and Gordie. This is a tale you won’t soon forget.

If you want a heart-warming story, then you need to read Bride of the Wolf.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pursuing Love by Karen Hall



Pursuing Love by Karen Hall
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (282 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

A reformed thief, Sharyn Winslow is determined to save her school for women But when doing so means she must work with the policeman who helped send her to prison, will she keep up her guard against him or surrender to the passion he ignites? A determined detective, Nick Tyler needs to solve one more case to insure his promotion to inspector and vindicate the murder of his parents. Working with the troublesome Sharyn Winslow is the last thing he wants. Will he follow the path to success or let her penetrate his long guarded heart?

Having survived life in an orphanage, life on the mean streets, and prison in late 1700’s London, Sharyn Winslow does not intend to let financial problems or the detective that helped put her in prison destroy her Lilac Street School. The old fear and distrust of “peelers” make her heart rate speed up, but she knows it is not the only reason when she is once again involved with Detective Nick Tyler. He has no business being so disgustingly handsome while still being so intimidating.

Detective Tyler, one of the most effective in controlling crime, prowls the mean streets of London. After the murder of his parents, he left college to be a policeman. A smoldering anger fuels his determination to succeed in his fight against crime on the streets and against corruption in the police department. When the judge says he must work with Sharyn, he put on his best “peeler” armor, but his heart cannot be shielded. As he sees all her efforts to help women who have been in prison and orphan children, he has a hard time believing “once a criminal, always a criminal” that his immediate supervisor Dobbins preaches.

Pursuing Love teems with interesting characters that stir the emotions as they influence Sharyn and Nick’s relationship. Little Jack and Lacy Allen (Lightfingers) reach out and tug at the heart. Lacy’s secrets, survival instincts, and street sense create a sub-plot that becomes extremely important to the main plot.

Karen Hall infuses Pursuing Love with social ills of late eighteenth century London—poverty, theft, abuse of power and authority, and women’s struggle to be recognized as intelligent, capable individual—not just chattel or someone to be taken advantage of. Even better, she gives the reader a stunning surprise at the climax of the story—which makes for good reading!

The Second Time Around by Michelle Levigne



The Second Time Around: A Tabor Heights Novel by Michelle Levigne
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short (127 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Daniel Morgan's past returned to haunt him when a freshman girl showed up wearing his college sweetheart's face.

Lynette Tyler was determined not to face her past, when she learned her daughter's favorite new teacher was the man she had forced out of her life when she got pregnant.

When Daniel learns that Kat is his daughter, he dares to ask God for the dream he had let go years before... to finally be a family. He pursues Lynnete's love through tragedy and shame, learning to forgive each other and themselves. The biggest hurdle isn't whether Kat would forgive them when she finally finds out the truth, but whether Lynette can let go of the past long enough to let them have a future together.

Although this book was released in June ’09 it is a book well worth looking for. Set in Tabor Heights, Michelle Levigne’s cast of characters once again dig deep into your psyche as do the setting and supporting cast. Even so, I found it hard to really get into this story.

The author's writing is excellent, as always. Her characters are vividly realistic and human in their strengths and weaknesses. They make you stop and think how you would react in similar situations.

Having read the Tabor Heights anthology and The Family Way, I enjoyed visiting with old friends, some who are mentioned fleetingly, and others who become integral players in the story.

Both Lynnette, the heroine, and Daniel are flawed and yet they are both strong people who know when to seek help and advice from friends, family or their church community.

Ms. Levigne never fails to show both sides of church members; those who are there to serve their God and Community, and those who are there to be seen by their god and community.

There is everything in this book, tears, laughter, suspense and murder, fears and joy. This book has it all; especially love in its many guises, and is well worth reading.

An Ordinary Angel by Kathy Otten


An Ordinary Angel by Kathy Otten
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical Western
Length: Short (96 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Orange Blossom

A lifetime of polite indifference is all Julianne Spencer sees when she envisions a future with her current suitor, Mr. Terrel Lee Parker. She is looking for someone more passionate, more heroic, who can love her for who she really is, and not the proper young lady she pretends to be. Her future seems hopeless until Christmas Eve, when fate drops a wounded outlaw at her door and she comes to realize true heroes can be found inside even ordinary men.
Ms. Otten has penned a gem of a story not to be missed in An Ordinary Angel.

Terrel Lee Parker was courting Julianne Spencer until he overhears that she doesn't care for him. Julianne doesn't think he's passionate and heroic. No, she sees him as cold—perhaps too shy and mannered. Little does she know the untamed passion which lies dormant below the surface.

Terrel Lee is that well mannered southern gentleman which most modern women would love to fall in love with. And who doesn't love a story with a hero so desperately in love with the heroine—a hero with a tortured past. Julianne isn't the well mannered young lady her parents wish she could be. She's lost beau after beau for her untoward behavior and now she's lost Mr. Parker….or maybe not. Fate has a way of stepping in.

Great story, characters and writing. The author’s natural flow of words makes it seem as though the writing was absolutely effortless. The historical details were excellently delivered. The excitement of the plot kept me reading, but the characters made me feel. Absolutely loved it! Great little story to be read over and over again. A sweetly sensual delight. It's amazing the depth of character the author was able to develop in less than 100 pages. Highly Recommended!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom



Red Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (211 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Tory McKidd understands exactly what kind of monster is stalking the moonlit streets. She, too, is a werewolf and is ready to bring the rogue shifter to justice. What she isn't prepared for is Adam Scott, the sexy detective whose investigation crosses paths with her own—a human who inexplicably stirs her senses.

Adam Scott is searching for a killer, not a lover, but with one look at the flame-haired beauty, he is ensnared. When one steamy night ignites their animal passion, there is no denying their fate. But when werewolf meets human, danger lurks—and the one they hunt may be the one hunting them….

She’s got a secret and she’s hunting a killer. Although he’s chasing the same killer, he’s got nothing to hide. What happens when their paths cross? Read Red Wolf and find out.

Once in a while you come across that one book that really sticks with you way past the last page. Red Wolf is one of those books. When I got this story, I couldn’t wait to begin and I wasn’t disappointed. The scenes are vivid, the characters deep, and I mean it when I say you’ll feel like you’re there. The writing is nice and tight, demanding the attention of the reader.

Tory is a fun heroine, but not in the traditional sense. She’s got a smart mouth, and she’s focused. She knows she needs to find out who killed her brother. But I liked her devotion—not only to her brother, but to her beliefs. When she puts her heart on the line, she’s all in.

As a counterbalance, Adam is the best possible hero. He’s handsome, he’s a little rogue, and he’s totally focused on getting the killer. If he happens to lose his heart to Tory along the way, well, he’s game for the ride. I liked his faith in her. Where some would laugh or walk away, he stood firm. His believing is hot.

If you want a story that’s packed with action, heart, and a baddie you’ll love to hate, then you need to read Red Wolf.

The Family Way by Michelle Levigne



The Family Way: A Tabor Heights Novel by Michelle Levigne
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short (149 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel

Lisa thought she walked into her marriage with her eyes wide open, aware of the hard task of getting the approval of her cold, domineering father-in-law. When she discovered she was pregnant, she thought she would finally be accepted, but Todd's reaction to the news was the last thing she expected: "Is it mine?"

She had endured his father's constant criticism because she thought Todd loved her, but now she wasn't so sure. Maybe Todd had never loved her, and he was more like his father than she dreamed. To protect her baby, should she leave him, and refuse to continue the Montgomery family tradition? Where did being a 'good Christian wife' end, and the need to protect her sanity and her baby begin?

In an honest illustration of real life people, this inspirational story clearly shows the power of redemption.

What stood out most for me in this book was the ‘bad guy’ Arthur Montgomery! He is not featured significantly, and yet his presence hung over the plot like a vulture circling its prey. I admit to struggling to like Todd, the hero, until I remembered that, as an inspirational I had to dig more deeply into the story. I never got to truly like Todd, but I did get the message of redemption that is an integral part of the story.

Ms. Levigne's heroine, Lisa, is not your typical strong, self-contained heroine either, and yet her capacity for loving, caring and compassion flows off the page. She is full of flaws and those flaws lend her the strength to work through the problems the author puts in her path in a realistic and believable way. And that got me thinking again about Todd. He, too, is portrayed in a realistic way. We are not involved with a macho super-hero here. We are shown a self-centered man who has as many lessons to learn as his wife.

Every character in the story has a pivotal role to play in bringing Lisa and Todd together. The emotions and reasons for those characters are the fuel behind the words the author has penned, and the words created vivid pictures of the well loved and familiar Tabor Heights of the A Tabor Heights - Ohio Novel Series.

Whether you have read the other stories in the series or not, I am certain you'll still enjoy reading about Todd and Lisa as each story stands easily alone.

This is a powerful story and one well worth reading.

Crossroads: Southern Arcana, Book 2 by Moira Rogers



Crossroads: Southern Arcana, Book 2 by Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (199 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Holly

He’s the last man she should ever want. She’s the last woman he can ever have.

Southern Arcana, Book 2

Coming from a family with psychic gifts, Derek Gabriel was aware of but separate from the dangers of the supernatural world, until a rogue wolf shifter stripped away his humanity. The change he barely survived didn’t drive him insane, but the cultural bias against him as an inferior transformed wolf might. And it doesn’t help that he’s fallen for the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the country.

Almost from the moment she was born, Nicole Peyton started planning her escape from the strict confines of elite shapeshifter society, an old-fashioned world where women are valued only for their bloodlines and bank accounts. In New Orleans she has a bar she loves, friends in decidedly low places, and a smoldering sensual tension with an incredibly attractive and deliciously unsuitable man.

Their forbidden longing erupts into unbridled need—until Nick’s sister burns into town with a strike team hard on her heels. Saving her means Nick has to play by the Conclave’s rules…and give up the man she is growing to love.

Unless Derek does something completely crazy—issue a challenge that could shake the foundations of their world.

Nicole Peyton is the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the nation. Since she was born, all she has wanted was to get away from what is expected of her; to one day take her father’s place. She escapes to New Orleans and takes over ownership of a small but popular bar, and is mostly happy with her life. All that's missing is a mate. But the only wolf that attracts her is one who is considered unsuitable for her by shifter society, "made" wolf Derek Gabriel.

Derek comes from a family with psychic powers, and is struggling to come to terms with his new life as a wolf. He is attracted to the one woman he shouldn’t want, born wolf Nick Peyton. When trouble hits close to home, Nick must decide between Derek’s love or her sister’s life. Can Nick settle for a life empty of love, if it means Michelle is safe? Can Derek forget his feelings for Nick and move on? Or is there another solution, one that will keep Michelle safe, but also allow Nick and Derek the life they want? Can a born wolf and a made wolf beat the odds and find happiness together.

Moira Rogers writes southern angst so well. The characters are absolutely marvelous, real and multi-dimensional.

Nick is such a strong woman, willing to do whatever necessary to ensure the safety of her pregnant twin sister. She tries to save them all, but loses herself for a little while. Derek is determined to protect everyone, and find a way to get over losing Nick.

There are several surprises from friends and family that add so much to this story, and when Derek and Nick finally get their happy ever after, it is not what I expected, which made it all the sweeter for me.

I loved this story. It had love, danger, and passion, and it made me laugh, and cry and smile. When an author can bring that much emotion to a story, you can’t help but love it. I recommend this for all of those who love shifters, and against all odds success. It is a wild ride, but so worth the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Audrey And The Maverick by Elaine Levine



Audrey And The Maverick by Elaine Levine
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (346 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

In Elaine Levine’s stunning novel of the American West, a proud rancher and a determined young woman are drawn together in the lawless town of Defiance.

Virginia financier Julian McCaid has put his troubled past behind him. His plans for the future don’t include Audrey Sheridan, the extraordinary frontier woman he met just once. But it’s because of her that he’s come to the Dakota Territory to investigate problems at his ranch. And it’s all the more surprising when he discovers she isn’t the innocent he believed. Now nothing but her complete surrender will purge her from his soul.

If it weren’t for the children she cares for in her makeshift orphanage, Audrey would have left Defiance long ago. Now the sheriff is blackmailing her to distract the man who might derail his corrupt schemes—a man who can offer Audrey not just protection, but a passion bold enough to make them claim their place in this harsh and beautiful land.

Backed against the wall with the corrupt sheriff’s hand squeezing her throat, Audrey Sheridan agrees to do his bidding. His threat to hurt or kill the children of her orphanage ensures her compliance. She is to cook for the men on Julian McCaid’s Hell’s Gulch ranch for a month and keep McCaid out of the town of Defiance, Dakota Territory.

Knowing that McCaid thinks she is a thief and prostitute, Audrey feels she is jumping from the frying pan into the fire as she leaves town with McCaid, but she has run out of options. Desperate but determined Audrey tries to formulate a plan to take care of the children. Paying work has dwindled in Defiance as the sheriff and his gunmen caused many people to leave Defiance. Her mind goes in circles with the image of Julian McCaid confusing her thoughts and making her long for something she knows is out of her reach.

Julian McCaid knows trouble is brewing in Defiance, but he is used to trouble. Having set his life on a definite course years ago, he does not intend to let a range war, corrupt sheriff, or the haunting Audrey deter his master plan.

Often called a half-breed he has an even bigger secret that he guards closely. His plan will assure that his children will never have their bloodline questioned. Wealth has given him standing with the best pedigreed families back East. He has six blonde-haired, blue-eyed women from whom he will choose a wife, just as soon as this range war business is settled.

Ah, but the best laid plans do sometimes go astray, especial when a work-weary little beauty with secrets, despair, and fear in her eyes invades his dreams and his daily thoughts.

The children with stories that make the heart ache; Jace Gage, the “Avenger”, and Julian’s friend; and the few good people still left around Defiance add layers of emotional richness to this captivating love story.

Greed and an insatiable hunger for power fuel conflicts that bring death and destruction before good can triumph over evil. The scars both emotional and physical will forever be there as reminders, but hope, love and faith nurture the courage it takes to forge a life in the raw, harsh but beautiful Dakota Territory.

Elaine Levine’s writing style grabs the attention of the reader and never lets go until the happy-ever-after that seemed so unattainable is indeed reached with Audrey and Julian’s rock-solid love—a love that reaches out to encompass lots of little orphans. Audrey And The Maverick is an exciting and engrossing story about strong characters that helped push the American frontier westward.

Online Angel by Kelly Abell



Online Angel by Kelly Abell
Publisher: Hearts on Fire Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Violet

An innocent trip to an online store to buy her three year old son a Christmas gift turns into a living nightmare for Cheryl Rubio. Mark, her poker obsessed husband has just cleaned out their entire savings account for a high stakes poker tournament three weeks before Christmas. On top of that he’s decided to leave her and the son he never wanted because Cheryl “doesn’t get him”.

Devastated, scared and confused Cheryl must find a way to keep her struggling law practice alive and provide some kind of Christmas for Robbie. Thoughts of past mistakes haunt her and she begins to think about her first love Kevin Lawson, a man she dumped because she didn’t feel he was ambitious enough to fit into her life plan.

Kevin is just coming out of a recent divorce to a woman who could never measure up to Cheryl. He never should have married her in the first place. One day out of curiosity Kevin searches for Cheryl on ConnectPing.com a social networking site. When he finds her neither one of them can believe the coincidence of the timing of their reconnection, or that for the last four years they have lived within 30 minutes of each other in Atlanta, Georgia.

Can Kevin and Cheryl put past hurts behind them and reconnect to have the love they should have had all along? Will Cheryl, whose been praying for a Christmas miracle, find herself an Online Angel?

First Cheryl Rubio finds that her bank account is cleaned out due to her husband's gambling debts, and then he leaves her. He not only leaves but turns his back on his son and leaves Cheryl nothing but $1000 to make it through. It's Christmas time and all she wants is her son to have a good Christmas. Suddenly, out of the blue, an ex-boyfriend of hers contacts her online. Kevin was the one man that loved her unconditionally and she turned her back on him. Can they really have a second chance at first love once again?

I really loved this book. The beginning grabbed my attention and I was not able to put the book down once I started reading it. The characters were engaging and being a mom myself, I could really relate to Cheryl's character. When things go bad in a relationship, I don't think there is one person who DOESN'T think about their first love. To have that first love contact you after so many years, well, it's exactly what I wanted to read.

Ms. Abell has done an excellent job of making Online Angel simply sparkle. I really wish this book would have been longer and I hope that Ms. Abell will consider writing a follow up book. I definitely want to see where their characters are today. It was hard to let this book go and I found myself thinking about it during the day. There was a part towards the end that made me cry. When you read it, you will know what I mean. It was a very touching moment. I highly recommend you read this book; it will leave you with a dreamy feeling.

Summer’s Song by Allie Boniface



Summer’s Song by Allie Boniface
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (155 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Fennel




What if everything you knew about your past turns out to be…wrong?

Ten years after leaving home, the last thing Summer Thompson expects is to inherit her estranged father’s half-renovated mansion. And the last thing she wants is to face the memories of the night her brother died—sketchy as they may be. Now a San Francisco museum curator, she plans to stay east just long enough to settle the estate and get rid of the house. Until she finds it occupied by a hunky handyman who’s strangely reluctant to talk about his past.

Damian Knight has something to hide: his mother and sister from a brutal stalker. They’ve found a measure of peace and carefully guarded safety in Pine Point. Yet when the lonely, haunted Summer steals his heart, he finds himself opening up to her in ways he should never risk. Especially to a woman who’s planning to return to the west coast—after selling their refuge out from under them.

Summer’s mounting flashbacks leave her confused—and more determined than ever to find out the truth behind her brother’s death. But in a small town full of powerful secrets, confronting the past could cost her the man she loves. Even her life.

Our heroine, Summer Thompson does not want to be back in Pine Point. I like the way Ms. Boniface show’s us who Summer is by using the information on her business card to pass the knowledge on to the reader. Whether intentionally or not, the reader begins making up their mind as to Summer’s personality in the first quarter of the first page. And so the story continues, with an immediacy that keeps the reader turning the page as past secrets unfold and the consequences they had on the small community she returned to are revealed.

Damian Knight has secrets too, but unlike Summer, he knows what his secrets are and what he has to do to protect those he loves. So when Summer Thompson announces she is selling her late father’s house and the rental he just happens to live in, he is none too well-disposed towards her. Nor is he happy that he can’t get her out of his head.

Assumptions, misconceptions, misguided actions on the part of main and secondary characters alike, ensure the reader will stay glued to the page to the end to unravel all the intertwining threads of mystery. But when the truth is uncovered will Damien and Summer's relationship survive the fallout?

Ms. Boniface's fluid writing and vivid imagery work as strongly on the scene setting as they do on her characters, and make for a clever and intriguing read. For me this book is a keeper.