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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Only Mine by Susan Mallery
Publisher: MIRA Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Azalea

You can't win if you don't play...

Her town's lack of men may make headlines, but it isn't news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool's Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers— the perfect contestants— off the show. Despite Dakota's better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn't dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV.

Overseeing a romance reality competition in Fool's Gold, CA poses big problems for Dakota Hendrix, but having two of the most eligible bachelors yanked off the contest by an angry elder brother—a very sexy elder brother—poses an even bigger problem. Especially when she finds herself drawn to the hunky Alaskan.

All the beautiful psychologist wants to do is the job for which she's paid—not screen eligible bachelors. But everyone in the town, from the mayor on down, convinces her she needs to give back to the community, so instead of designing math workshops, she herding hopeful contestants anxious to win the monetary prize.

Finn Anderssen storms into Fool's Gold in search of his younger twin brothers Sasha and Stephen who've abandoned their college studies one semester short of graduation to enter the competition. Finn is determined to drag his brothers back to South Salmon where he is partner in an air cargo transport business and knock some sense into them. Dakota warns him that tactic could end badly and convinces him to allow the twins to stay in the competition. Against his better judgment, he acquiesces, and agrees to pilot the contestants to various venues where they'll be filming. This gives him a chance to oversee their actions. Finn has cared for his brothers ever since their parents were killed on a flying mission, and he takes his duty seriously—to the point of smothering the young men with concern for their education and careers.

When the contestants are paired, Sasha's girl is a lovely young woman with a keen desire to be a television or film star—the same goal as Sasha's. Stephen, however, finds himself paired with Aurelia, a plain accountant nine years his senior. Aurelia has been goaded by her mother to try out for the competition, and even though she's reluctant, she longs for a chance to get out from under the thumb of her domineering mother and be able to buy a house. Stephen's goal has been simply to get away from his over-protective brother Finn.

While staying in town, Finn becomes attracted to Dakota. A dinner invitation to her house results in a night of superb sex for both of them. Finn has been too busy looking after his brothers for eight years to allow himself any relationships and Dakota feels men either aren't interested in her or the right man she could be interested in hasn't come along. Until Finn. The fact that he's only there temporarily allow her to have a no commitments relationship. She doesn't count on falling in love.

I loved this story. The premise was cute, but after I got to know the characters, I found myself rooting for each of them with no thought to the outcome of the competition. I loved the interaction between Dakota, her mother and her sisters as much as I did the town, which in itself was a character. (Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all live in such a caring place?)

The developing relationship between Aurelia and Stephen was particularly touching and negated Finn's obtuseness about the role he should play in his brother's lives. Although he was a good and caring man, he went completely overboard in his role as guardian of two young men who were twenty-one. His learning to accept that his goals were not their goals was a touching thing to see and I cheered his character growth on this point and impatiently waited to see if he could get past his personal stumbling block to a satisfying relationship with Dakota.

This book grabbed me within the first three chapters and hung on right to the end. Pick up a copy for yourself and see if you don't agree that it's a satisfying and rewarding read.