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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Familiar Light by Sarah Balance

Familiar Light by Sarah Balance
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Jasmine

Seven years of longing comes down to just one night.

Laney Kent returns to Barrier Shoals hoping to reunite with her first love, Bridger. She anticipates his reception might be chilly, but what she doesn't expect is to become the victim of a deadly obsession … or that this night with Bridger could be her last.

Bridger Jansen tangled a lot of sheets trying to forget about Laney, but his heart knew what the rest of him refused to admit: he could love no one else. He's determined not to forgive her for leaving him without explanation, but when he fails to protect her from a vicious attack, the person he can't forgive just might be himself.

Have you ever fantasized about your first love and wondered what would happen if you hooked up again? So does Laney. And she intends to find out.

I read this author for the first time not too long ago and immediately fell in love. I love her style, her writing and her voice. She has this amazing talent for drawing you in and making you fall in love with her characters in a very short space. Her talent also extends to telling a full story in a very short format that doesn't leave you feeling like something was missing. That's not easy to do in short novellas that usually equal less than fifty pages. Ms. Ballance's writing is the kind that leaves me thinking about the characters, and the story, long after I have finished it. She has gone on my “must read” list and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will write a full length novel at some point, because it would be one to remember, without a doubt.

I loved all of the characters in this story. Even Holden, the secondary character, came through loud and clear with his own sexy style. Bridger, the lead male, is a sexy “man's man” who seems more like a cowboy transplanted to the beach rather than the beach bum that I expected given the locale. Laney is a strong, yet vulnerable, girl next door. The type that I would have been friends with in high school and kept in touch with long afterwards. The setting is great as well. With the beach as a backdrop, which (in my mind) projects the sense of relaxation and calm, you quickly realize how sinister it can be and the author portrays both very well. Also, what has the potential to be spookier than an old lighthouse?

The idea that Laney would return after seven years and that her relationship with Bridger would immediately pick back up where it left off seems somewhat unrealistic, but Ms. Ballance manages to convince me it's possible with finesse. Given their connection and the circumstances, it's not necessarily an unreasonable consequence of the situation. The fact that Bridger seems to be at odds with himself over what he wants and what he believes should happen make it believable. The story line of the serial killer is suspenseful and creepy and the perfect catalyst for the two of them coming together.

Without giving anything away, it looks like this has been set up to be a series, so we will get to revisit Bridger, Laney and Holden at some point in the future. Personally, I can't wait and I will be watching for the next book. If you are looking for a new author, or a just enjoy a short, quick, enjoyable read then definitely check out 'Familiar Light'. You don't know what you are missing if you pass this book, or this author, up.