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Friday, March 11, 2011

Dangerous Sands by Karen Bostrom

Dangerous Sands by Karen Bostrom
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (340 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Massage therapist Rita Madison is divorced and retreating to the sanctuary of her upscale Jersey Shore hometown. At 39, she’s tired, broke, and has little trust in men. Her plan is to build her own business, spend time with her beloved aunt and walk on the beach – far from men, lies, and deception. But the idyllic locale she remembers from her childhood no longer exists. Her aging aunt is facing a bleak financial situation, and a series of incidents are plaguing her new business, threatening to derail her new life and livelihood.

To complicate matters further, two attractive men enter Rita’s life: a down-to-earth yet secretive carpenter who claims he is looking out for her aunt and a wealthy, smooth-talking businessman who offers her a trouble-free life every chance he gets. While Rita untangles the finances of her aunt, she must decide if she can learn to trust and love again. But is she putting her trust, and her heart, in the care of the right man?

Managing men and money sends Rita’s plans to rest and get her life back on track flying away. Instead of rest, her life slips into high gear as she deals with the manipulative Tony, the mysterious Mitch, and Aunt Liz’s money matters, not to mention starting her own business. Rita’s integrity, loyalty, and work ethic make her a strong character. Her prickly attitude toward Mitch and cautious handling of Tony gives the reader insight into her lack of trust in men. The old adage ‘once burned, twice shy’ fits Rita well.

Mitch, the supposedly homeless carpenter, and Tony, the hometown rich boy grown up to be the wealthy local wheeler-dealer, influence Rita and her Aunt Liz’s lives differently but with surprising and shocking outcomes. Karen Bostrom makes Mitch and Tony come alive with foreshadowing and subtle clues that hint of their true personalities.

Serena, Rita’s ditzy, fortunetelling friend and confidant, brings humor and true friendship into the morass of troubles that beset Rita. Even though she marches to a different drum, she is ever loyal — makes one love her.

To me, Aunt Liz, in all her goodness and unawareness of finance, is not as believable as the other characters, but her ineptitude is paramount to the plot.

Dangerous Sands has an undercurrent of threat that escalates as the plot unfolds. The vandalism, narrow escapes, and mysterious mishaps keep the reader on edge and wondering how in the world the characters will ever untangle the good from the bad so love can flourish and heal old hurts. Secrets threaten, but love finds a way to shine through bright and strong giving that special ‘ah, yes’ feeling that is so satisfying.