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Monday, October 24, 2011

Ladybugs and Fireflies by Cheryl Aldredge

Ladybugs and Fireflies by Cheryl Aldredge
Published: Highland Press
Genre: Contemporary
Lenth: Short Story (142 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Feisty fraud investigator, Callie Roberts, isn’t looking for a knight in shining armor to rescue her. She’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She’s had to be. Now, her business is thriving and her goal of owning her own home is finally in reach…if she can land her dream client.

The last thing she needs is to be distracted by a man, especially when he’s the powerful New York attorney who’s in town to represent the man her dream client has hired her to investigate.

Taylor Powers’ big city law career has brought him success, but a trip back to his home state of Florida has him wondering if it might be time to think of coming home for good. The sweet, sexy woman he’s drawn to only confuses matters. Callie’s career has made her a pro at keeping secrets and that plays havoc with his zero tolerance for deceptive women. Yet she attracts trouble like a magnet, kicking his protective instincts into overdrive.

Can Taylor unravel the mystery that is Callie? And with a past full of heartache, will Callie ever allow herself to believe happily ever after really can come true?

While the title had me expecting something rather whimsical, Ladybugs and Fireflies is, in fact, a zippy and quite classic contemporary romance with just enough intrigue to allow for the unexpected.

Callie Roberts, investigator, has had a crappy history in the romance department. And it's been ages since she had a date. Taylor Powers does not appear to be the man who's going to change all that. Well, perhaps for a moment there he does look like he’s going to change all that. Anything can happen in ‘speed dating,' let’s face it. However, this fancy lawyer is only going to make life - and very probably her job - more difficult. She doesn't know that at first of course: because they share one look and are swept away. It all seems so perfect for a moment...

Callie, although sweet in a slightly southern way, is far from the elegant yet helpless belle-type southern gal. In fact, I found her to be a perfectly wonderful leading lady: she's feminine but self-sufficient; a bit of southern charm but tough, or maybe stern. Maybe a tiny bit of that self-sufficiency is from from life rather than inclination, but I found her admirable just the same. And she has a faintly humorous outlook, much of the time, that gives the story a sort of happy aura.

Taylor is everything a leading man should be: dashing, protective, forthright... and we hope, even honest. He's good, and we so want Callie to see that. Maybe he's not the complex character she is, but readers will really like him just the same. His point of view might reveal a little too much, but it isn’t distracting. It does help us to understand his frustration and maybe allow us to feel a little bit frustrated with Callie too. Aldredge really has a way of conveying not just a believable character, but their emotions. Secondary characters are also well done (friends are important- just look what Sally gets Callie into!)and happily fully-drawn also.

Simply put, this is a very entertaining story. The plot is interesting and engaging; the character's goals obvious and understandable. The backdrop is great - there's a real southern small-town flavor. There's a few fun unexpected twists, quips and fun, but readers will want to read this for the wonderful characters and the depth of feelings you'll share as you go.

Aldredge's Ladybugs and Fireflies is one with appeal for all romance fans.