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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When I'm With You by by LaConnie Taylor-Jones

When I'm With You by by LaConnie Taylor-Jones
Publisher: Genesis Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Review by Rose

When your life has been terrorized by violence, how do you manage to go forward, looking over your shoulder at every turn? This is the daily question that haunts Caitlyn Thompson. She has been in hiding from an ex-boyfriend for three years, always careful not to slip up and allow him to find her again. Working for a neighborhood youth center, she has found her niche. This is something she believes in, having grown up in inner-city New Jersey herself. Submitting a grant request to a wealthy philanthropist foundation, Caitlyn is soon to meet the man who will make her want to stop running, want to trust and love again; Marcel Baptiste. It will take a will of iron and a courage she didn't know she possessed to battle her fears and open up to the wealthy entrepreneur. But when violence comes knocking again, will she have the courage to face her biggest nightmare?

Marcel Baptiste; wealthy, attractive, a man on a mission; he is driven to meet the woman who wrote such a professional grant proposal. For some reason her words and dedication reaches out to him from the paper, capturing his attention like none has for some time. Focused on giving back to the those less fortunate, he is certain the youth center is a worthy cause, but still he has this need to meet the grant writer, Caitlyn Thompson. When conditions culminate to bring her to his dealership in Oakland, he doubly pleased. He sees before him a woman who is worth the extra effort it takes to pursue and uncover her secrets. Not only is the grant writer and director of the youth center, but she is the woman who has finally captured the elusive billionaire. With someone conspiring to outbid him on a purchase, a stalker looking to cause violence and buried secrets coming to light, Marcel will have to stand strong in the face of his biggest challenge, saving the woman he loves.

Caitlyn Thompson is a woman who never lets down her guard. She did that once and it backfired on her. Now, she pours all her hopes and ambitions into a neighborhood youth center. She presents a grant proposal, but unfortunately her plans to meet with a philantropist are cancelled.

Fate steps in, though, and she ends up meeting him without knowing who he is. Marcel Baptiste, once he discovers Caitlyn was the meeting he cancelled, takes the opportunity to get to know her, but hiding the fact he is the man she was scheduled to meet.

Once Caitlyn finds out the truth, it looks like the end for their relationship, because since she already has trouble trusting men, this looks like just another man betraying her trust.

LaConnie Taylor-Jones does a remarkable job portraying characters the reader falls in love with. This reader found herself rooting for the fragile love that develops and found herself despairing when it looked like fate may step in and part them forever.

When I'm With You is not just a love story. There is suspense, secrets that go back generations, and a delicious subplot between two of the most unlikely people you would think might possibly get together. Fortunately, Taylor-Jones tells their story in her next book, which this reader is anxious to read.

LaConnie Taylor-Jones has created an outstanding cast of characters in her first full-length multicultural romance. The Baptiste family is large, boisterous, and in the words of the main character, Marcel, "nutty." But they adopt Caitlyn as one of their own. This is a family I, quite frankly, want to see more of and I'm glad Taylor-Jones has more books in the wings.