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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trust in the Lawe by Stacey Joy Netzel

Trust in the Lawe by Stacey Joy Netzel
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Western
Length: Full Length (350 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Water Lily

Kendra Zelner has three brothers: Eight-year old Noah she's determined to protect, Joel who has no clue she exists, and Robert who wants her dead.

With reason to be distrustful of cops, she takes Noah and flees their Manhattan home for Joel’s ranch in Colorado. Under the pretense of needing a job, she plans to hide out until her twenty-fifth birthday, when she’ll inherit her trust fund and legally gain custody of Noah away from Robert’s greedy hands. Unfortunately, her brother’s sexy, infuriating ranch manager insists on demolishing her defenses and digging into her past.

Colton Lawe has good reason to suspect Joel’s beautiful, long-lost sister isn’t what she seems—the little liar stole from him! He silently vows to expose her secrets, but long hours together on the ranch fosters a closeness and fiery attraction neither of them expects. Can Kendra trust Colton with the full truth before Robert finds them?

Early one morning, Colton Lawe rushes out of the house in nothing but a towel to prevent Kendra Zelner from stealing his car. She doesn’t end up with his car, but she gets his wallet and an eyeful when he loses his towel. I think this qualifies as a “you know it’s a bad day when” moment for both of them. And it only gets worse when Colton shows up at work to find Kendra there claiming to be his boss’s newly discovered half-sister.

Ms. Netzel does a great job of making both Kendra and Colton likeable characters the reader wants to root for. Kendra’s first day at work made me smile. Colton’s dual yet conflicting reactions to her felt spot on.

Kendra was born with a silver spoon, but it doesn’t really show. She confronts adversity head on, pulls a middle class work ethic out of her designer boots and finds creative solutions to difficult problems. So what if she lies a little? It's necessary, isn't it? She needs to protect her younger brother, Noah, from their evil half-brother Robert. At least until her birthday. But what happens when fear of rejection causes her to tell one lie too many?

Colton carries baggage that has him convinced he’s a casual-relationship-only kind of guy. And it’s worked for him until now because he’s never met anyone he’s wanted to be serious with. He’s got friends, he’s had lovers, he’s got a job he adores, he’s got family. He’s got everything, right? Wrong. So how’s a guy who’s advertised “casual only” make Ms. Right think he’s serious, especially after he’s told her he’s not?

I really enjoyed the bi-play between Colton and Kendra. I appreciated the warm relationship she has with her brothers Joel and Noah. The workings of Joel’s ranch and the interactions of his family added great warmth and texture to the story. And I especially enjoyed the building romance between Colton and Kendra and the conflicts that raised with both of them. But I didn’t buy Robert, the evil brother or the will. I struggled with the build up to the climax in that part of the plot. I wanted to believe it, because the rest of the book was so fun, but I couldn’t. It didn’t feel true and Robert didn’t feel real.

Despite that, I enjoyed Trust in the Lawe. Ms. Netzel has a way of making families come alive in a real and heartwarming way. She does kids really well. If you like feel-good, character driven books where good people and good families win out, you’ll enjoy Trust in the Lawe.