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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Past Promises by N. J. Walters

Past Promises by N. J. Walters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 books
Review by Holly

Sometimes the only way to leave the past behind is to ignore the voice of reason—and leap.

Jamesville, Book 7

For Linda Fletcher, the sign in front of her new business says it all. Past Promises Antiques is her declaration of independence from her powerful and manipulative family—and a vow to herself that her future will be different.

She never considered herself the no-strings-affair type, but the chemistry between her and her newly hired handyman is too intense to ignore. Moving to Jamesville was a bold step, so what’s the harm in taking one more—into his arms?

Levi Mann’s shadowed past keeps his bags packed light and his feet on the move. But one look at Linda, and he finds himself willing to hang around—just long enough to figure out what it is that triggers their explosive passion.

Warning, this title contains very explicit language, a dysfunctional family, a very large inheritance and lots of wild, hot sex.

She comes from a family of influential and manipulative people, and is trying to escape her past. He is former military, with a shadowed past. Can two so different people find happiness together and overcome the pasts that haunt their steps?

Linda Fletcher grew up in a controlling environment, where her family expected her to follow the plans laid out for her future, even though they were not what she wanted. Her father, brother and fiancĂ© are all lawyers in a prestigious Vermont firm. It is expected that she will finish law school, marry Simon and join with them. Nothing could be further from Linda’s idea of happiness in her life. When her beloved grandmother dies and leaves the bulk of her estate to Linda, she sees this as her chance to escape the fate planned and start over. Based on the money she stands to inherit, Linda moves to Jamesville from Vermont, buys an old storefront, and, after a lot of hard work and planning, opens her antique shop, Past Promises.

Levi Mann is former military with a shadowed past and the tendency to keep moving, until he meets Linda. He is a friend of Jonah Sutter, Linda’s friend Amanda’s husband, and Linda hired him as a handyman to help fix up the century old building that houses her dream store. In exchange for the work he does, he lives rent free in one of the apartments over the shop. The chemistry between them is strong, and Levi wants to explore why he feels so protective of Linda. When her family becomes more of a problem, and threatens her dream, Levi can no longer stand by. He is not proud of his past, but some of the skills he learned are the very things needed to help Linda cut the ties with her past and move on to a future that she has dreamed of. The surprise at the end gives such perfect closure, and a wonderful sense of justice. And yes, Linda does get her happily ever after, in more ways than one.

N. J. Walters writes her Jamesville stories with heart and passion. Reading this book, you feel the pain Linda feels when her family will not accept her as she is. You feel the desire and passion she feels when she finds that Levi wants her, and the indecision of whether to get involved with a man who may move on at any time. I love the way they discover each other, and the way Levi gives her a chance to back out before they get involved. And the sex in the book is realistic; no fantastic gymnastics or unrealistic goals, just hot romantic encounters. But it’s the little details that made this an enjoyable read for me. Levi taking the time to find out what she can have for dinner to not bother her ulcer, making sure she has what she needs to keep her safe and healthy, just being there for her when she needs a friend.

This is the first of the Jamesville books I have read, but I am going to get the rest soon, because I want to visit this place and meet the people there.