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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bull at the Gate by Tricia Jones

Bull at the Gate by Tricia Jones
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (252 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Alexander “Bull” McKinley’s reputation as a hard-nosed businessman is tested when an old Fairy Gate and local superstition stand in the way of a lucrative development contract. Alex has his hands full trying to convince the villagers to play ball, without the unexpected—and definitely unwanted—attraction to the feisty redhead leading the revolt. Dee Ashman detests those who put profit before people, and she’s damned if an arrogant, insensitive and, okay, wildly attractive capitalist is going to destroy the symbolic heart of the village and break her beloved grandmother’s heart.

But they cannot deny the desire that burns between them nor the unleashed passion neither can resist.

Bull at the Gate touches the heart, especially for those who know that love is magic and creates its own “other-worldness”, setting it apart from this mundane world that seems to strive for money and power on all sides. The hero and heroine, seemingly complete opposites who are incomplete, come together in love to make a many-faceted "one" that sparkles with life, but like a fine-cut gemstone, they had to go through lots of grinding and polishing before they came out sparkling. Ah, they do sparkle.

The Fair Gate and its magic give a sense of safety, belonging, and is an intrinsic part of traditions of Bower Magna, a village not far from London. As developers come with a promise of “prosperity”, the Fair Gate is threatened, setting Dee Ashman and Alex “Bull” McKinley on opposite sides.

Dee’s grandmother, Ida Ashman, believes in the magic of Fairy Gate. Her most precious memories are entwined with it. She is called its guardian and rallies the longtime residents to try to keep it intact and left in its original location. After all, according to the legend of the Fairy Gate, it is there for a very important and special reason. GREAT LEGEND!

When Ida’s health problems curtail her efforts, Dee steps into the fray. Pitted against the high-powered developer Alex McKinley and the village committee chairman Richard Rilbot, who plans to line his own pockets with the new development, Dee and the old-timers seem to be fighting a losing battle.

It didn’t help that Dee’s “idiot hormones” kick into overdrive at the sound of Alex’s deep, husky voice. But Dee vows not to let hormones rule her like they had ruled her mother. Yet, under his gaze, “every cell in her body feels an intimate familiarity” with him. She is sure when she sees his indigo eyes that he is fearless, devoted to duty, intolerant, and judgmental. She berates him, saying he is ruthless, heartless, and doesn’t care about people’s feelings—only concerned with profit.

However, they kiss under the Fairy Gate and it feels like a “full-size earthquake” to Dee and when they both touch the Fairy Gate something unexplainable happens—could it really be magic?

Alex doesn’t have time to mess with the Bower Magna issues. He needs to see to his daughter’s school change and his international business, but the feisty, outspoken redhead with eyes like emerald pools ignites a fierce need in him even though she is a thorn is his flesh businesswise. She also scares him with her crystals, belief in fairies and magic. He’s not sure he wants to expose his daughter to this maddening, yet irritable woman. Memories of his deceased wife have him shying away from Dee, even though they are dynamite together.

The secondary characters are a busy lot. Rilbot, the underhanded wheeler dealer, Tom Grantman, a would-be Don Juan, with his sexual innuendoes, stir up trouble. But they can’t hold a light to Stella Ashman, Dee’s mother. However, Cassie, Dee’s best friend and Bella, Ida’s close friend, bring some great humor into the mix. One of the special characters is Alex’s seven-year-old daughter Charlotte who brings her own unique magic. She is the light of her daddy’s world and brings joy and a sense of completeness to Dee and Ida’s world. She is a charmer.

Bull at the Gate delights the heart, especially for those who know that love is magic. It captivates and swirls the reader into the happenings at Bower Magna—giving the reader an enchanting, sometime humorous, sometimes sensual vicarious experience that keeps one turning pages.

Tricia Jones weaves a plot fraught with emotions, clandestine dealings, and incredible back stories that make the characters seem so true to life. The hero and heroine’s journey to a happy-ever-after is full of conflicts and seemingly insurmountable differences making the coming together so satisfying.