Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fiddler - Beverly Lewis (Bethany House - Apr 2012)

Series: Home to Hickory Hollow (Book 1) 

A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler - and the young Amishman's charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow.  Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes.  And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever. 

Very good book.  Amelia is rescued from the rainstorm and a flat tire by Michael.  He is staying in a cabin, basically hiding out from his Amish life, trying to decide if he wants to leave it.  Amelia is a concert violinist, also trying to decide her future. Amelia and Michael connect right away, each recognizing a fellow lost soul. He invites her to come to Hickory Hollow for a few days to relax.   I loved the way that Amelia and Michael are able to relate to each other despite their very different backgrounds.  Each is able to listen to the other without judging, thereby giving them a chance to explore options.  Michael really wants to leave the Amish community, but is afraid of disappointing his family and friends.  He is caught between two worlds - his Amish life, helping his father, and his English life, working as an architect and enjoying all the outside world has to offer.  Amelia is tired of touring but doesn't know how to tell her father and the others who expect a great future from her.  When she visits Hickory Hollow she is drawn to the simpler life she experiences there.  I really liked the way she was able to help Michael with his niece, and the way she became such good friends with Joanna.  When it is time for her to leave, she and Michael stay in touch for a long while, learning more about each other and expanding their friendship.  They lose touch with each other for awhile due to a misunderstanding, but find their way together again after each has found their way to the lives they were meant to lead.  I loved seeing the personal growth in both Michael and Amelia.  Neither one came to their decisions easily, but the process was completely believable.  I enjoyed seeing some characters from previous books.  The conclusion to this story was beautifully done.

A Man of Distinction - Sarah M. Anderson (HD #2184 - Sept 2012)

Series: Lawyers in Love (Book 3)

He'd said goodbye to his life on the reservation without regrets. He'd asked Tanya Rattling Blanket to come with him too many times, and Nick Longhair never begs. But when business brings him back to his ancestors' land, he finally understands what he exchanged for money and power.

In the years he's been in Chicago, Tanya has been raising his baby, a son he didn't know…. Determined to give his child every advantage, Nick isn't about to leave again…at least not alone. But that means winning back the love of those he left behind. 

Good book.  Nick didn't want to come back to the reservation, but he was sent there to work on a lawsuit.  He did want to reconnect with Tanya with whom he's had an on again off again relationship since they were teenagers.  When he arrived he was stunned to find out he had a son and that Tanya wanted nothing to do with him again.  They had to deal together with their son, who is ill, and with the causes of his illness.  They also had to find a way to deal with their renewed attraction.  I mostly liked both Nick and Tanya.  Tanya was working in the reservation's Council office as a receptionist, but also helped identify when people needed help.  Her ambition is to eventually be part of the Council herself.  She is also raising her son, trying to give him a better life.  But he is ill, apparently unable to hear or speak.  She is still angry and hurt that Nick had walked away last time and never returned her calls or tried to call her.  She is afraid when he comes back that he will try to take their son away from her.  He had asked her to come with him the last time, but she felt her home was on the rez, taking care of its people. She is surprised at how easily he adapts to being a father and this causes her to fall even more in love with him.  When it becomes obvious that the baby's illness has been caused by the pollution from the company involved in the lawsuit, Nick wants to use the info in the case.  Tanya doesn't want Bear to be put through that and this causes some friction.  When Nick takes them to Chicago for Bear's surgery, Tanya is intimidated by and uncomfortable with Nick's lifestyle.  Nick was a little harder for me to like.  He had been so determined to leave his past behind that nothing else seemed to matter to him.  It seemed as if he is now interested only in whatever makes him successful.  He appeared to look down on the conditions of the rez.  I did like the way he immediately accepted his part in Bear's life and how good he was with him.  I loved the way that he was able to get Bear in to see that doctor - there were times when his ruthless lawyer side was good.  It was interesting to see how, the longer he was on the rez and the more time he spent with Tanya, the more he saw the good side of his past.  I did feel he was still being sneaky with his plans to use Bear's illness in the lawsuit.  Both he and Tanya had their own viewpoints of their pasts and it was good to see them finally communicate about those memories and understand the other's feelings. It made it easier to understand Nick's actions once I knew about parts of his past. I loved the scene in the condo when the boss's daughter was there.  It was great to see Tanya stand up for herself.  I really liked the conclusion of the story.  I enjoyed the environmental issues in the book as it made the reason for Nick's return that much more realistic.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Deception - Carol Ericson (HI #1379 - Oct 2012)

Series: Guardians of Coral Cove (Book 4) 


Columbella House, a crumbling Victorian mansion on the coast, is packed with secrets and danger. Now it all belongs to Mia St. Regis. For police chief Dylan Reese, the return of the beautiful heiress rekindles an old attraction, one he thought ended long ago. Before he can focus on their past, though, Mia's reappearance rouses a killer, someone who's made her the ultimate-and most prized-target. Dylan knows keeping Mia safe is part of the job. Yet the image of an elusive enemy getting anywhere near her challenges his sworn vow to uphold the law-and stirs something all too personal inside by-the-book Dylan.... 

Very good book and excellent conclusion to the series.  Marissa had come back to Coral Cove to deal with Columbella House.  Practically the first person she ran into was Dylan Reese, current police chief and former crush.  Besides dealing with the house, Mia was also trying to find her sister who she hadn't seen in several years.  Almost as soon as she arrived in town things began to happen to her - her brakes went out, she was attacked by an ex-con, her ex-husband was murdered, her new-found niece was poisoned.  I really liked both Mia and Dylan.  Mia was determined to do something about the house and overcome the bad vibes that come from it.  She also wanted to find her sister and make up for the actions that split them apart.  I liked the way that she immediately took to her niece and wanted to help her.  I liked the way that she admitted her attraction to Dylan and was able to connect with him better now than when they were younger.  Dylan was a fantastic hero.  I loved his protectiveness and the way he wanted to take care of Mia while still accepting her independence.  The way he was always there for her, even when she tried to chase him away was really sweet.  I also liked the way he was determined to make sure that Mia knew how much he wanted her.  The final showdown was great and a surprise to me.  I really liked the solution Mia came up with for the Columbella property. 

Caroselli's Christmas Baby - Michelle Celmer (HD #2194 - Nov 2012)

Series: Caroselli Inheritance (Book 1) 

What are friends for?
She wants a baby. He needs an heir. It seems like the perfect arrangement... until they decide to conceive the old-fashioned way. 

Having a baby with his best friend is the means to an end for Nick Caroselli. In his quest to receive a ten-million-dollar inheritance, he'll also be giving Theresa Phillips the one thing she really wants...a child. Once the baby's born and the money's in the bank, they can divorce, share custody and go back to being buddies. But their best-laid plans are about to take a sharp turn under the mistletoe, as things really heat up this Christmas.   

Fun book.  Nick's grandfather wants his three grandsons married and fathers to carry on the family name.  So he comes up with a plan and an incentive.  Nick doesn't really want to get married, but figures he can find a way to work around it.  When his best friend Terri tells him she is going to go the donor route and become a single mom, he sees a way to make it work for both of them.  What he doesn't expect is the change in his feelings from friendship to love.  I really liked both Nick and Terri.  I loved the fact that they had been friends for so long.  When they made the decision to marry and make a baby the old fashioned way I could see where it was heading.  I loved the way that Nick knew Terri so well and how he took care of her.  He understood her need for independence and didn't try to take that away, but let her know it was also okay to lean on him sometimes.  I loved the way that he finally realized that he loved Terri as more than a friend.  Terri had a harder time of things.  She had never really been given love as a child except in her dealings with the Caroselli family.  She had always been able to talk to Nick about anything, and was stunned when he made his suggestion.  She knew she was falling for him, but didn't want to lose his friendship so she kept trying to keep some distance between them.  She just couldn't believe that he really loved her, because in her experience she always ended up along.  I loved the conclusion to the story.  I'm looking forward to the next book, not just for the other two guys but because I see some trouble looming and I want to see how it turns out.

The Navy SEAL's Promise - Soraya Lane (novella - 2012)

With only 48 hours back on home soil for Christmas, United States Army Corporal Saskia Cullen is desperate to spend every minute with her young son. So when heavy snowfall closes JFK airport and she misses her connecting flight to Buffalo, she’s devastated. Until Navy SEAL Luke Gray offers to keep her company… and then personally escorts her home. 

Luke is back in the US on leave, waiting to hear the details of his next mission, and Saskia proves to be a pleasant distraction. And when he hears that she needs to get home to see her son, he’s prepared to do anything to help the sexy single mom. Trouble is, he hadn’t planned on falling for anyone, let alone a beautiful soldier about to return overseas. 

Fantastic story.  I connected with Saskia and Luke right away.  With only two days before she had to return overseas, Saskia is heartbroken when weather cancels her flight home to see her son.  Her seatmate on the previous flight, Luke is drawn to the sexy soldier and promises that he will get her home.  I could feel Saskia's love for her son and her desperation to make it home to see him.  There was also her connection with Luke, something that was totally unexpected for her.  She couldn't believe he would go to that much trouble for someone he didn't know.  Luke started out as seeing Saskia as a pleasant distraction from his bad memories of the season.  I loved the way he pulled out all the stops to get her home.  I also thought that the way they were able to relate to each other was very well done, thanks to the way they were both military and therefore had common experiences and outlooks.  Their trip from JFK to Buffalo was great, and the love scene was hot!  I also loved the way that her family immediately made him welcome - also a very military thing to do.  The conclusion to the story was oh so satisfying - I could picture it happening! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Soldier's Baby Bargain - Beth Kery (HSE #2220 - Oct 2012)

Series: Home to Harbor Town (Book 5) 

She'd been his best friend's wife...then widow. And air force pilot Ryan Itani had been enthralled with the very idea of Faith Holmes even before they met. They say grief makes one do crazy things-well, chalk sleeping with Faith as one of them. Then finding out she was carrying his baby... What was a man of honor to do? 

But Faith wasn't about to let him into her home, much less her heart. If there was any chance to be a part of her and their child's life, he had to prove he wasn't just another carefree flyboy. Ryan had risked life and limb before, but this was about to be the solider's most important mission. 

Very good book.  Ryan had gone to see Faith at Christmas to check on her after the death of his best friend.  They ended up sleeping together, then Ryan went back to California.  Three months later he came back to Michigan and discovered that Faith was pregnant.  He was stunned but happy and made the decision to move his business to Michigan so he could be closer to Faith and the baby.  He had been unable to forget her and wanted to get to know her better.  I really liked both Faith and Ryan.  Ryan was such a completely nice guy.  I could see right away that he was completely different that Faith's cheating husband.  He was so excited about the baby and determined to take good care of Faith.  I could also see how much he had cared about Faith even before the baby, that he had begun to fall for her even while her husband was still alive.  He knew that Faith had trust issues and tried very hard not to rush her.  I really liked his patience and the obvious love he had for Faith.  Faith had been badly burned by her husband.  He was a complete playboy who made no effort to be true to his marriage vows.  She had filed for divorce right before his death.  When she and Ryan gave in to their momentary attraction she thought that would be the end of it.  She was stunned when he wanted to be part of her and the baby's life.  She also had no intention of getting permanently involved with another pilot, as she considered them all bad risks.  When she accepted Ryan's proposal of marriage for the baby's sake she really thought she could remain distant, but it didn't work out that way.  Ryan laid very careful siege to her heart and she found herself wanting to believe that it could work out.  There was a bad spot at the very end, but I loved the way that everything worked out for them.

To Be a Family - Joan Kilby (HS #1808 - Oct 2012)

Series: Summerside (Book 5) 

The courage to try again
What do you do when your dreams for tomorrow happen today? John Forster's plans to eventually be a father hit high gear when he's granted custody of his little girl. Although he does his best, it's soon clear she needs help adjusting to this small Australian town. Fortunately, there's one person with the right skills to assist-Katie Henning. Too bad she's his ex-fiancee. 

Seeing Katie with his daughter resurrects John's dreams about having a family together. And the simmering attraction that still sparks when he's with Katie makes him think, maybe. Maybe he can make up for their past. Maybe he can build on what they share now. And maybe they can have that future he's always wanted. 

Very good, very emotional book.  John brings his daughter back to Australia after her mother dies.  He hadn't expected to be thrown into fatherhood and feels like he's in over his head.  Katie is the perfect person to help, but they have to overcome their past first.  Seven years earlier they had had a disagreement over her treatment options when she had cancer.  He walked away in hopes of it forcing her to see things his way.  Since then neither one has been able to move on.  Now Katie is trying to help Tuti and John is trying to get involved with Katie again.  I really liked both John and Katie.  They both had some real issues to work through and at times it seemed that they never would.  John is overall a really nice guy.  He steps up to bring Tuti home with him and is trying to do the right things for her.  He tends to be an instinctive kind of man when it comes to dealing with issues, but his instincts don't always work so well with Tuti or Katie.  He also prefers to deal with traditional options when it comes to medical care and Katie's naturalistic preferences bother him quite a lot.  He is also a man who tends to get loud in his arguments and doesn't always listen to the other side.  This created problems with Katie both past and present.  Katie had developed a rather fairytale approach to love and always seemed to expect John's unquestioning support no matter what.  Every time it appeared that she and John might be getting closer she seemed to throw up some sort of roadblock or test that he was bound to fail.  She always seemed to be expecting him to walk away and leave her again, but she also seemed to be doing her best to drive him away.  I liked the way that she finally looked at what she was doing and how to fix it.  There were parts of the book that had me in tears which is, to me, a sign of a very good book.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

One Final Step - Stephanie Doyle (HS #1810 - Oct 2012)

A new image…step by step

Who said moving forward is easy? Car thief turned race car driver, Michael Langdon has worked hard to build his image. Now to take it to the next level and become a successful manufacturer, he needs to kick that image up a notch. Enter Madeleine Kane, a genius at adjusting public perception. With her in charge, he's guaranteed to look better while keeping his darkest secrets where they belong -- in the past.

Doesn't take long, however, for his ambition to change and the campaign to become personal. Because he wants Madeleine -- as beautiful as she is talented and smart. First, Michael must overcome her reservations about crossing professional boundaries and persuade her he's worth the risk…without revealing those buried parts of himself. Good thing he's very persuasive. 

Good book.  Michael needs Madeleine's help to take his image from playboy to businessman.  She is williing to do the job, but only if she stays in the background.  She was in the middle of a scandal seven years earlier and she doesn't want that to affect the job she does for Michael.   Michael is attracted to Madeleine early on and wants to get to know her better.  They spend a lot of time together and get close, but each still has issues to overcome.  It took me awhile to really get into this one.  I liked Michael.  He had paid his debt and made the decision to make something of his life.  He had one issue from his time in prison that he was having trouble overcoming, but his time with Madeleine helps with that.  I had a harder time warming up to Madeleine.  Her part in the scandal was entirely her own fault and I had trouble dealing with what she did.  It got better by the end of the book, and I did like the way she came through for Michael at the end.

Cavanaugh's Surrender - Marie Ferrarella (HRS #1725 - Oct 2012)

Series: Cavanaugh Justice (Book 23) 

"The killer is still out there."
Crime scene investigator Destiny Richardson receives the shock of her life when she finds her sister dead in a bathtub. Detective Logan Cavanaugh thinks it's an open-and-shut suicide case. But Destiny's convinced her sister was murdered. And she's not about to have some arrogant cop tell her otherwise-even if he is the sexiest man she's ever met. 

 Logan knows it's pointless trying to convince Destiny that it's against the rules to work on a relative's case. The crime scene investigator is as stubborn as she is gorgeous. Besides, Logan wouldn't mind getting to know her better. When it becomes apparent that there's a serial killer on the loose, Logan is bent on protecting the woman he's falling in love with. 

Loved the book.  Destiny is devastated by the death of her sister, but knows it isn't suicide.  Fortunately, the head of the CSI unit agrees.  Logan isn't convinced but he'll investigate further.  Destiny isn't about to step back and leave it alone, so she jumps in and discovers a connection to several other "suicides".  I really liked both Logan and Destiny.  Destiny knew her sister very well and was sure that her death was not a suicide.  She didn't like Logan at first and the way he was so sure he was right.  She also was very attracted to him, but didn't trust his carefree social life.  She was so very focused on finding her sister's killer that she didn't want to pay any attention to what might be developing between them.  She couldn't help but be touched by the way he helped with her sister's funeral.  She was also frequently irritated by the way he tried to take care of her, but also appreciated it because she hadn't had anyone do that in a long time.  Logan made a great hero.  He was hard to convince at first, but once he was he was all in.  He wasn't thrilled to have Destiny working with him because of her personal involvement, but soon found that she was an asset.  He was also very attracted to her, and wanted to get to know her.  I loved the way that he looked out for her, trying to help her whenever he could.  I loved the way that he stepped in to help with the funeral, calling on his new Cavanaugh relations for help.  I always love the way that the family is there for any kind of support.  I loved the ending when Logan was able to convince Destiny that they had a future together. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Last Woman He'd Ever Date - Liz Fielding (HR #4324 - July 2012)

Tall, dark and brooding -- and back for good?

Claire Thackeray: Hardworking single mom and gossip columnist. Hoping for the inside scoop on sexy billionaire Hal North, aka her teen crush!

Most wary of: Gorgeous men who set her heart racing. (Been there, got the T-shirt -- and the baby!)

Hal North: Bad boy made good. Back in his hometown as new owner of the Cranbrook Park estate. Determined to put his troubled past behind him.

Most wary of: Journalists -- especially pretty ones, like new neighbor and tenant Claire Thackeray.   

Very good book.  Hal was once the bad boy of Maybridge, before he was chased out of town by Claire's father and the previous owner of Cranbrook Park.  Now he is back, and the new owner of the estate.  Claire's father is gone, so he intends to take his revenge on her, who he remembers as the local princess.  Claire is now a single mother, working for the local newspaper.  She remembers Hal very well, because she had had a crush on him.  Now she wants to do a story on him, but he has no intention of giving it to her.  Hal starts out intending to destroy Claire and her home. But every time he does something to make things awkward for Claire he finds himself spending time with her and her daughter and having fun.  He hadn't intended to spend any time actually at the estate, but now he is there and doing nice things for Claire and the rest of the town.  I loved the way that he kept acting like a ruthless monster, but his inner nice guy kept coming to the surface.  I liked Claire also.  She had made the decision to give her daughter the best life she could.  She works very hard at her job at the newspaper and is determined to get the story on Hal and how he went from bad boy to billionaire.  She did have a tendency to jump to conclusions, but had no problem owning up to her mistakes.  I loved the way she was a good influence on Hal.  There was some wonderful dialog between the two that made them seem even more real to me. 

A Scandalous Scot - Karen Ranney (Avon - July 2012)

Series: Scottish Sisters (Book 1)

One scandal was never enough . . .

After four long years, Morgan MacCraig has finally returned to the Highlands of his birth . . . with his honor in shreds. After a scandal, all he wants now is solace-yet peace is impossible to find with the castle's outspoken new maid trying his patience, challenging his manhood . . . and winning his love, body and soul.

Jean MacDonald wants to leave her past behind and start anew, but Ballindair Castle, a Scottish estate rumored to be haunted, hasn't been the safe haven she envisioned. Ballindair's ancestral ghosts aren't as fascinating as Morgan, the most magnificent man she's ever seen. Though their passion triggers a fresh scandal that could force them to wed, Jean must first share the secrets of her own past-secrets that could force them apart, or be the beginning of a love and redemption unlike anything they've ever known. 

Good book.  Morgan has returned to Scotland, escaping London and the scandal of divorcing his wife.  He is looking forward to peace and quiet and instead runs into Jean, a fascinating maid.  Jean and her sister are also looking to leave behind a scandal of their own.  I really liked both Morgan and Jean.  Morgan started out pretty stuffy, trying to live down his scandal by attempting to live up to his memories of his father.  He is fascinated by his encounters with Jean, who is unlike any maid he has ever known.  She is honest to the point of bluntness and he is immediately attracted to her.  Jean is trying to be the best maid she can be.  She has accepted her changed circumstances and puts her past behind her.  When she is caught in a compromising position with Morgan they marry to satisfy his honor.  Their passion is immediate and strong, but they also find that they like each other.  Jean isn't comfortable as a countess, feeling that she is unsuited for the job.  Morgan thinks she is just fine.  There was some good character growth in both Morgan and Jean.  I like the way that Jean brings out the best in Morgan, showing him what needs to be done at Ballindair.  Morgan shows Jean the respect and trust she needs and eventually the love they both need.  I really liked the way that Morgan eventually saw Andrew as the smarmy non-friend that he actually was, and what he did about it.  I also liked the way that Morgan dealt with Jean's sister Catriona, another character well worth despising.  I really liked the ending. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In This Town - Beth Andrews (HS #1806 - Oct 2012)

Series: The Truth About the Sullivans (Book 3) 

Single mom Tori Sullivan is ready to grab the life she's always wanted—away from Mystic Point. And initially, newcomer Walker Bertrand seems the ideal partner for her adventure. His appeal makes a girl fantasize about happily-ever-after. That is, until it's clear this lawman's strict moral code collides with her knack for bending the rules. Add in his investigation of her sister and that should be a warning that he's not Tori's fairy-tale ending, or her ticket out of town. 

Yet, Walker seems bent on getting to the bottom of her secrets—something no one has tried to do in a long time. That he wants to know the real Tori, makes resisting him impossible. But being with Walker could be the one thing that holds her here. 

Good book and nice wrap-up to the series.  Walker had come to town to investigate Layne and Ross about possible wrongdoing in their investigations regarding her mother's murder.  He had also been put in charge of the investigation into the boyfriend's death.  He is a rigidly careful man who never lets anything interfere with his job.  But he is immediately attracted to Tori, even though she is one of the suspects.  Tori is used to men being attracted to her and she uses those feelings to try to get to Walker.  I liked Walker.  At first he was pretty obnoxious in his attitudes toward the Sullivans and Ross, but it was pretty obvious that he used it to see beneath the surfaces.  He was frustrated by his inability to read Tori.  He couldn't figure out who the real Tori was.  He was also frustrated by his inability to make progress on his investigation, until Ross passed on some information he had been working on.  As the days went on, he couldn't stay away from Tori and began to see the woman behind her public persona.  I had a little harder time actually liking Tori.  She made herself act like her mother as a way to protect herself.  When she couldn't chase Walker away, she wasn't sure what to do.  Then she found herself falling for him, which scared her.  When all the pieces of the mystery started to fall into place, the entire Sullivan family was devastated.  I did like the way that Tori finally went after Walker.  I would like to see a story for Anthony Sullivan, once he's had his time to grow up.

All He Ever Wanted - Emily McKay (HD #2188 - Oct 2012)

Series: At Cain's Command (Book 1) 

After dedicating his life to his family's company, Dalton Cain won't let his father just give away a fortune. He'll save his legacy. And he knows just the woman to help. But getting Laney Fortino to trust him again isn't going to be easy. She still considers him a coldhearted jerk. 

Years ago, he'd told himself he'd left Laney for her own good. But seeing her again, feeling the undeniable attraction between them, he vows to rekindle what he'd once thrown away. And this time, family won't stand in the way. 

Good book.  Dalton has put the company before everything else in his life.  His father is dying and has just received a letter telling him he has an illegitimate daughter.  But the letter is anonymous and gives no other information.  So dear old dad tells his sons that they must find the girl themselves.  The one who does, gets the company and if no one does the company will be turned over to the state and sold.  Dalton refuses to let that happen and thinks his parents' old housekeeper may have some ideas.  He used to be friends with her granddaughter Laney, until he dumped her when they were in high school.  She wants nothing to do with him, but decides to help anyway.  As they work together the attraction they feel grows stronger.  But Laney is hiding something and fears what will happen when he finds out.  Dalton and Laney were pretty good characters.  Dalton was very company focused at first, just wanting to find the girl and save his job with the company.  He did feel his old attraction to Laney and intended to get her into his bed, even though he had no intention of ever getting married again.  He had picked his first wife on the basis of particular qualities, not on love.  The more time he spent with Laney, the more he felt that there was more to life than what he had been doing.  While he still wanted to find the girl, Laney also made him think about other options for his life.  I liked Laney a lot.  She was pretty down to earth with a normal life.  She was caring for her grandmother, who has Alzheimer's.  She also was trying to figure out where a large sum of money in her grandmother's account had come from.  She was afraid her grandmother had stolen it from the Cains and didn't know what to do.  She was attracted to Dalton, but still furious at the way he had treated her when they were in high school.  She didn't trust him not to treat her the same way when he was done needing her help.  I liked the way she was so determined to help him with his search.  She should have told him about the money right away, but I could understand why she didn't.  I loved the conclusion of this book and the way that Dalton dealt with the search.  I have to say that I really hated Dalton's parents.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Intentions - Paula Graves (HI #1378 - Oct 2012)

Series: Cooper Security (Book 6) 

Although he was trying to crack a global conspiracy, former Marine Jesse Cooper had an even more important mission: keep new hire and girl-next-door Evie Marsh safe. Shocked to learn Evie could be the key to bringing down this secret plot, the head of Cooper Security had to stifle his attraction to her. After all, the case was on the line-and so were their lives. But between dodging bullets and staying one step ahead of the enemy, temptation became impossible to resist. As a man made for danger, Jesse thought sweet Evie had no place in his world. Then, in the heat of the moment, she proved she'd always have his back-or die trying.... 

Very good book.  Jesse is working to help solve the secret of the coded journal.  Evie Marsh's father is one of the men with the code.  At her sister's wedding Evie is abducted in an attempt to coerce her father.   Jesse was there to rescue her and took her into hiding to protect her.  They began working together to find out more about who is behind the plot.  This brings Evie more to Jesse's attention as a woman, and increases his attraction to her.  I liked both Jesse and Evie.  Jesse had once been engaged to Evie's sister, but the engagement didn't work out as they didn't want the same things out of life.  Jesse had always liked Evie, but she was always Rita's little sister.  When she came to work for Cooper Security he was impressed with her intelligence and her coolness under stress.  During their time together his attraction grew stronger, but he was having trouble getting past the little sister part.  As the search grew more intense he also realized that he wanted more than just to keep Evie safe.  By the end he understood that what he felt for Evie was far more than he had ever felt for Rita.  Evie had had a crush on Jesse from the time she met him.  This crush had developed into love, even while he was engaged to Rita.  After the breakup she didn't see him again until she started working for Cooper Security.  She discovered that her feelings had never gone away, but thought that Jesse was still in love with Rita.  I loved the way that she was able to think on her feet and was able to get herself out of a couple jams.  She was also able to keep up with Jesse when they were working their searches and made significant contributions to their efforts.  I really liked the way that things worked out for her and Jesse.  I felt like there is still more to be done with tracking down SSU people.  There was also mention of a Briggs Cooper, which makes me think there may be more Cooper stories down the line.  I sure hope so - I love the Coopers!

Bride by Mistake - Anne Gracie (Berkley - Jan 2012)

Series: Devil Riders (Book 5) 

Eight years ago, Lieutentant Luke Ripton made a hasty wartime marriage-in-name-only to protect a young girl from a forced union and left her protected in a remote mountain convent. Now, Luke is Lord Ripton, but he has been unable to obtain an annulment. Which leaves him no choice but to claim a wife he doesn't want.

For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-haired prince. Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself not as a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella's fiercely independent nature will not tolerate. 

And while Luke and Isabella's fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, never expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind... 

Very good book.  Luke married Isabella when she was thirteen to protect her from her cousin who wanted to marry her for her fortune.  It was the middle of a war, so he took her to her aunt, who was a nun, intending to get the marriage annulled when the war was over.  When he finally got around to it, he found out that it could not be annulled, so he returned to Spain to claim her.  He didn't want to be married, but figured he'd deal with it.  Having been raised in the convent, he expected a quiet, obedient girl who would be no bother.  Isabella had been left at the convent for eight years, part of that time during the war.  She had been raised almost like a boy by her father, so she was intelligent and independent.  She had also been waiting for Luke to come for her, dreaming of the time she would be his wife for real.  She was devastated by his attitude when he did arrive.  She stood up to him, insisting she wanted to return to her old home to check on her half sister.  When Luke refused, she sneaked away intending to go on her own.  When he followed her, they ended up doing as she wanted. As they made their trek, Luke was drawn to Isabella in a way he didn't expect.  He found himself wanting to be nice to her and to take care of her.  But he is tortured by memories of his wartime experiences in Spain, memories that make him feel unsuitable to be anyone's husband.  I loved Isabella's independence.  Her escape from Luke to go find her sisters was hysterical.  I loved the way she turned the tables on him.  I also liked her realistic attitudes.  She had accepted Luke's statement about not loving anyone, and decided she would make the best of her new life - after she was done in Spain.  I liked the way that she could see Luke's pain and wanted to help him deal with it.  She wasn't whiny or obnoxious, she was simply determined.  Her method of dealing with his shirt was clever and it worked.  I enjoyed the way they worked together to deal with her sister's situation, and again when they met up with Luke's nemesis.  The conclusion was great, and I loved the events leading up to his sister's ball.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Road to Bayou Bridge - Liz Talley (HS #1800 - Sept 2012)

Series: The Boys of Bayou Bridge (Book 3) 

As a wild teenager, Darby Dufrene tore up the roads around Bayou Bridge. However, years of serving in the navy have reformed him. Now that he's discharged, he's ready to settle down…just not here in Louisiana. But his "quick" visit becomes the opposite when he discovers that a long-ago, impulsive wedding he had with Renny Latioles was not annulled.

Fine. He and Renny are in perfect agreement -- an uncontested divorce and he'll be on his way. Too bad the crazy attraction that pulled them together before is just as strong, and it isn't listening to logic. Spending time with her makes him crave more. It could be they're still married for a reason.… 

Good book.  Darby was the bad boy of Bayou Bridge when he was a teenager.  He and Renny were young and in love and snuck off to get married.  On the way home they were in an accident where Renny was badly hurt.  Their parents lied to them about the other's feelings and sent Darby away to military school, where he then went on to college and law school and joined the navy.  All that time he thought that Renny hadn't wanted him any more and that their marriage had been annulled.  When he left the navy he discovered he was still married to her and headed home to try to fix it.  He had decided that he was going to look for a new job as a lawyer in Seattle where a girl he was interested in lived.  When he got to Bayou Bridge he discovered the deception and that because of it, Renny had been broken hearted.  Renny had gone on to college and become a biologist who is studying herons in her hometown.  She is not happy to see Darby again and stunned to find out about their marriage.  Both of them are surprised to find that they are still attracted to each other and decide to try to get to know each other again.  They are making progress until the girl that Darby had been dating shows up, even though he had told her they were done.  This causes some drama between Darby and Renny that is kind of fun to watch.  Darby was definitely confused about what he wanted.  On one side he wanted away from Louisiana and his family's drama, but on the other he had missed his home and the people he loved.  Renny was irritated by his attitudes and basically told him to come see her when he figured out what he really wanted.  The resolution of their love was very good.  I also enjoyed the two mothers, both of whom could be considered "steel magnolias".  They knew what they wanted for their families and had no trouble going after it, but did it in an apparently genteel manner.  I also loved the meeting between Darby and his recently found twin sister - that was very funny to see!

The Truth About Tara - Darlene Gardner (HS #1803 - Sept 2012)

Tara Greer's world is fine the way it is -- even if some details of her childhood simply don't add up. Life on the beautiful Virginia coast with her mother and young foster brother are all she needs. What she doesn't need is gorgeous stranger Jack DiMarco's suspicion that she was stolen as a child. Because if he's right, the truth would devastate her family.

Steering clear of Jack is the easy answer, right? Wrong! The sexy, compassionate on-the-mend baseball player is everywhere she turns…exactly where her heart wants him. But their future seems unlikely when being with Jack means facing a reality that could cost Tara everything. 

Good book.  Jack has come to the Eastern Shore to see a doctor about surgery on his shoulder so he can go back to being a baseball pitcher.  While he's there, his sister has asked him to check into the identity of a woman who may have been abducted as a child.  He does, and Tara says it can't be her since she's not the right age and has seen baby pictures of herself.  Jack accepts this, then goes on to see the doctor who tells him he can't help, that surgery won't make a difference.  Jack doesn't accept this, as he has never wanted to do anything else.  He feels that he can rehab his way back.  So he stays in the town and decides to volunteer at a children's camp where Tara and her mom help out and her foster brother attends.  Tara's brother has Down's and Jack turns out to be very good with him and the other campers.  He and Tara begin to get close.  Tara starts to wonder about Jack's story and starts investigating on her own.  She discovers that maybe she is this missing girl after all, but doesn't want to believe her mother is a kidnapper.  I really liked how good Tara is with all the kids.  She is also very good with her mom is a rather clingy, needy type of woman.  Tara has to face the fact that she could be the missing girl and then has to work up the courage to face her mom with it.  I really liked how the mystery turned out.  I also loved the way that Jack was finally able to accept his fate and work out what his future would be.

Out of Bounds - Ellen Hartman (HS #1801 - Sept 2012)

Former basketball star Wes Fallon owes his brother everything. So when Deacon asks him to track down some missing charitable donations, Wes is on it. For the first time, the accident that ended his career looks like a godsend…until Wes encounters Posy Jones.

Posy is unlike any woman he's ever met. She's beautiful, intelligent and can hold her own on the court. But she's clearly keeping something from him. As he digs deeper into the missing funds, his gut tells him what she's hiding is tied to it. Will he be forced to choose between the woman he's falling in love with and the brother he would risk anything for? Hopefully not…because his choice might surprise them all. 

Good book.  Wes Fallon, the younger brother of Deacon (The Long Shot) is all grown up now.  His basketball career has come to an end because of a shoulder injury and he is at loose ends.  Because Deacon rescued him from foster care as soon as Deacon was old enough, Wes has always felt an obligation to help Deacon if ever he asked.  Wes is being sent to Kirkland for two reasons: first, to help pave the way for a new Fallon Center in town, and second, to track down the money from a fundraiser that a local woman ran to raise money for the program.  Wes doesn't really fell qualified, but he can't say no, so off he goes.  When he arrives, the woman is out of town, but her daughter is there and says she'll be able to get the check to him.  Wes gets the feeling that there is something going on, but he's really interested in Posy, so he lets it go.  The more time he spends with her, the more he likes her.  She also has made him think about what he wants to do now that he's done with basketball.  He has never thought that far ahead.  When he found out what Posy's mom had done, and how Posy had covered it up until she could get the replacement money he was furious.  Her actions pushed all his buttons - his feelings about his family and how this could impact them, his feelings of inadequacy about the job he had to do, and the way he was feeling about Posy. He had started to care and now his anger had chased her away.  So many people had left his life that she was just one more.  I didn't like the way that he was so blind with his anger that he didn't think about the effects on Posy until Deacon and Julia asked.  Even then he was still so angry that he didn't even want to see her.  Posy had left Kirkland as soon as she was able to.  She is a tall, athletic woman who had never felt like she fit in anywhere in her hometown.  Her mother was always trying to turn her into a girly girl and constantly had little negative digs at her.  This did a number on Posy's self esteem, but she still loved her mom.  Her mom was a ditz who was constantly getting into messes that Posy then ended up cleaning up.  This fundraiser was the latest and worst.  Not only did mom lose the money, she then went into hiding leaving Posy holding the bag.  Posy was able to get the money and pay the foundation, but she didn't think about the effects of the original loss of the money just that everything would be fine if they had the funds.  She had fallen for Wes and was devastated by his attitude toward her when she finally told him what had happened.  She didn't just take his anger laying down, she did tell Wes a few things about himself that eventually made him think about his future. I liked the way that when they finally made up they still took things slowly.  The conclusion was good.  I liked that Posy's mom still had to pay for what she did.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cowboy's Family Plan - Judy Duarte (HSE #2212 - Sept 2012)

Series: Brighton Valley Babies (Book 3) 

Solemn rancher Alex Connor was looking for a good woman. To be more precise, he was looking for a surrogate to bear his babies. He had it all figured out: he'd be a single dad completely devoted to his children. But after his first meeting with obstetrician Dr. Selena Ramirez, all his carefully made plans flew out the window. 

Selena knew she'd be able to help Alex, though not in the way he might imagine. Common sense told her to run when the sexy green-eyed cowboy admitted he wanted her. What kind of crazy fate had brought a man yearning for offspring to a woman who couldn't have any? What kind of crazy girl would gamble on a man whose heart was already taken? 

Good book.  I really liked both Alex and Selena.  Alex had lost his wife two years earlier, along with their unborn baby.  Because they had used in vitro, there were still two embryos available and he was determined to find a woman to carry them so he could still be a father.  He met Selena when she was giving a class on surrogacy and was immediately interested in her more than professionally.  He made it plain to her that he was interested in her and they spent time together.  After awhile he realized that he was falling for her and thought that she might be willing to be part of the family.  Selena had been hurt once by a man who had never forgotten his first love.  She was afraid that Alex's first wife would always come first in his heart and didn't want to be hurt that way again.  She had also found out that she could never have children of her own, which made Alex's plans hard for her to hear about.  I liked the way that Alex wanted Selena to be part of the family and never thought about comparing the two women.  I found Selena's fears to be understandable, but their happiness could have come a lot quicker if she had just talked to Alex about them.  I loved the way that things finally worked out for them. 

Return of the Last McKenna - Shirley Jump (HR #4337 - Sept 2012)

Series: McKenna Brothers (Book 3) 

Dr. Brody McKenna has just returned home from serving as a medic in Afghanistan, and he has one more mission to fulfill….

Standing outside Kate Spencer's sweetshop, he takes a deep breath. Going through that door will take courage, for he's here to keep a promise made to his dying friend. He's prepared for tears or anger -- not the deep attraction he feels for sparky-but-stressed Kate. One spontaneous offer of help later, this hero is surrounded by cupcakes, candy canes -- and the greatest enticement to forget his past and take a new kind of risk.…   

Brody went to Kate's shop to make sure she is doing okay.  He had known her brother in Afghanistan and was with him when he died.  He can't tell her who he is, but can't stop himself from going back again and again.  He finds himself very attracted to Kate, and the more he's with her the more he falls for her.  I really liked both Brody and Kate.  Both of them are in pain from Andrew's death and both of them feel guilty.  Brody promised Andrew that he would check on her and make sure she was moving forward, but not tell her why for fear of causing more pain.  Brody's guilt and promise are what sends him to Kate to start with, but it is Kate herself that makes him keep going back.  Being with her makes him feel better and worse - better because of the feelings he's starting to develop and worse because of feeling like he didn't do enough to save Andrew's life.  The more he's with her the more he feels he needs to tell her the truth, but he's afraid of her reaction.  Kate misses her brother intensely.  He was the one who was the motivator for expansion and other risks, while Kate tended to be more cautious.  Without him, she is pretty much standing still.  When Brody starts coming around she is attracted to him, but senses that he is holding something back.  She likes spending time with him and begins to care for him, but worries about what secrets he is hiding from her.  When he finally comes clean she is devastated by what he has to tell her and doesn't want to see him again.  I loved the way that his brothers helped him.

The Cowboy and the Princess - Lori Wilde (Avon - Aug 2012)

Series: Jubilee Texas (Book 2)

Brady Talmadge was a cowboy with five unbreakable rules:
1) Never pick up a pretty hitchhiker
2) Avoid damsels in distress
3) Never order chili at a truck stop
4) Always trust your gut
5) Never tell a lie . . .

This is what happened when he broke all his rules . . . and got into a whole lot of trouble!

On the run from an arranged marriage, Princess Annabella of Monesta dons the guise of a hitchhiking cowgirl. But when she finds herself drenched, alone, and hungry, she has no choice but to trust the tall Texas horse whisperer who offers her a ride. He's like no one she's ever known -- a strong sexy man who says just what he thinks. And when one wild kiss leaves her breathless, she quickly realizes she'll give up everything to spend a lifetime of night times in his arms. But how can there be happily-ever-after with palace guards hot on her trail? 

A really fun book.  Annie is on the run from her responsibilities as a princess.  She just wants a chance to be normal for a little while before she gets stuck in the planned political marriage.  She is standing in the rain, looking pretty pathetic when Brady stops to pick her up.  He plans to just leave her at a nearby truck stop and continue on his way, but ends up taking her along.  He breaks all his self-imposed rules when he picks Annie up and knows she's going to be trouble.  He takes her along to Jubilee where he will be working with Joe Daniels' horse (The Cowboy Takes a Bride).  Annie ends up getting a job with Mariah's wedding planning business and living in a cabin on the property.  Annie and Brady's intense attraction only grows as they spend more time together.  Annie has made it clear she's only around for a short time, and Brady is clear on his avoidance of commitment.  They enjoy each other's company and pretty soon their physical relationship is getting pretty intense.  I really liked both Brady and Annie.  Brady is pretty much a loner and avoids commitment by staying on the road with his horse whisperer job.  He knows Annie is hiding something when he picks her up, but he can't just leave her.  Her mix of naivete and sophistication are intriguing to him.  He takes her along to Jubilee and as the next few weeks pass he gets to know her.  He finds himself quite content staying in Jubilee and doesn't feel the urge to move on like he usually does.  Just as things are intensifying with Annie he gets hit with a surprise that changes his outlook and his way of life.  I loved Annie too.  She is so completely clueless when Brady picks her up that it is pretty funny.  Her confusion about American slang is fun to watch, and I love seeing her trying to adapt to Texas life.  Her references to the movie Roman Holiday are great (it's one of my favorite movies).  She really likes her life in Jubilee and doesn't want to go back, even though she knows she will have to.  She falls in love with Brady, but when her time is up she leaves to go home to her wedding.  There is a surprising twist waiting for her that was just what was needed for her happy ending.  The people of Jubilee are still wonderful characters and add a lot to the story.  And I loved Brady and Annie's dogs, Trampus and Lady Astor.  They have their own little romance going on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Disgrace a Lady - Bronwyn Scott (HH #1104 - Sept 2012)

Series: Rakes Beyond Redemption (Book 1) 

Merrick's season of outrageous scandal has taken a challenging turn. Caught in a -- far less than usually -- compromising situation with Lady Alixe Burke, this so-called gentleman is tasked by her father with making his daughter marriageable!

Lady Alixe, more happy in the library than the ballroom, is most definitely left-on-the-shelf material. He'll never walk away from a wager, but Merrick's expertise extends way beyond society etiquette. Never before entrusted with a woman's modesty, Merrick sets about teaching her everything he knows… 

Fun book.  Merrick was at the house party to escape some of his more scandalous behavior.  Then he was caught with Alixe, thought it wasn't quite compromising enough to force marriage.  Alixe's father required that Merrick simply pay enough attention to her to make her more interesting to more suitable men.  Alixe has purposely made herself unappealing.  She is much happier doing her historical research and translating and has no interest in being some man's trophy.  She isn't happy about her father's decree, but has to go along with it.  As they spend time together, Merrick finds that he's enjoying his time with Alixe, and she finds that life outside the library can be pretty interesting.  I ended up really liking both Merrick and Alixe.  Merrick starts out showing his irresponsibility and rakish tendency.  When he first encounters Alixe, he is naked from swimming in a pond.  He is intrigued by her lack of squeamishness, and continues his flirtation later when he meets her again.  I loved the way that Merrick starts to forget his rake persona when he talks to her about her studies and gets involved in what she is doing.  He is still determined to help her find the "right" husband, since he feels he would never be suitable.  I really enjoyed the way he got her to wear different clothes, and the way she got her revenge.  As the time goes on it becomes obvious that he is falling for her, though he doesn't want to admit it.  Alixe is pretty smart in the way she has tried to arrange her life.  She knows what she does and doesn't want and isn't afraid to go after it.  She has purposely dressed and acted in a way to discourage suitors.  She enjoyed her time in the library with Merrick, when she discovered that there was more to him than she had suspected.  When she gets stuck with having "lessons" from him she isn't happy about it, but decides to make the best of it.  She finds that she enjoys his company, and that he tends to bring out the fun side of her.  She falls in love with him, but doesn't believe that he can change enough to be a good husband.  When her father picks an unscrupulous man to marry her Merrick has to be able to step up. I think my favorite thing about this book was the banter between Merrick and Alixe.  They played off each other beautifully. I loved the finale to this book.

A Precious Inheritance - Paula Roe (HD #2186 - Oct 2012)

Series: The Highest Bidder (Book 4) 

Vanessa Partridge has a good reason for wanting the priceless manuscript being offered at auction—it is her twin babies' legacy. But she doesn't count on the winning bidder, financial guru Chase Harrington, showing up on her doorstep. 

Chase has a new obsession—Vanessa. There's more to the former-socialite-turned-working-single-mom than meets the eye…and he's going to find it. He's got secrets of his own—secrets threatened by the sexy Vanessa. More than anything, Chase wants to give in to their sizzling attraction…but can he afford to play with fire? 

Very good book.  Vanessa has tried to get the manuscript, but failed in her bid at the auction.  When Chase showed up at her home, she felt an immediate attraction to him.  Chase also felt the attraction and is fascinated by Vanessa.  He senses that she has secrets and is determined to find out what they are.  As they spend time together, the attraction grows and changes.  I really liked both Vanessa and Chase.  Vanessa has left behind her wealthy but judgmental family and is working at a job she loves and raising her twin daughters.  She really wanted that manuscript since it was written by the girls' father.  She doesn't like Chase at all at first since he is accusing her of rigging the auction.  She is also very attracted to him, but doesn't want to be.  She finds that they have things in common and enjoy spending time together.  His ease with her children surprises her and makes her fall for him a little more.  Chase is a pretty terrific hero.  He has his secrets that he tries to protect, mostly about his early life.  He had bad experiences with rich kids when he was a teenager and it affects his outlook on other people.  He initially thought that Vanessa was like them and it took awhile before he really saw the differences.  I loved the way he was so good with kids and how much he liked them.  He had a good heart and I really liked the way that he eventually opened up to Vanessa.  His proposal at the end was fantastic.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Maverick's Ready-Made Family - Brenda Harlen (HSE #2215 - Oct 2012)

Series: Montana Mavericks: Back in the Saddle (Book 4) 

"Invasion of the Baby Mavericks "
What could be more of a handful than a babbling, bouncing baby? How about "two?" Sexy single dad Clayton Traub already has a full plate with adorable six-month-old Bennett. But now tipsters tell us Clay's got a new main squeeze in Antonia Wright. Yes, "that" Antonia-feisty, independent and eight months pregnant. 

Antonia knows better than to fall for a wrangler bunking at her boardinghouse-"particularly" in her condition. But how can she resist Clay's magnetism when he's living so close? Never underestimate the power of a Traub, big or small. Stay tuned, rough riders, and see if the cowboy daddy can lasso Toni's heart. 

Good book.  Clay has come to Thunder Canyon for two reasons: one, to keep his brother Forrest company as he works with a veteran's group, and two, to get away from the gossips in his Texas hometown.  They and his infant son are living at Antonia's boardinghouse.  Clay finds that he really likes Antonia, who is also very good with his son.  She is also very pregnant and not interested in forming any relationships.  I liked both Clay and Antonia.  Antonia had been deserted by her boyfriend as soon as he found out she was pregnant.  But she is very independent and quite determined that she can handle being a single mother.  She also finds that she is very attracted to Clay, but blames it on her hormones.  As she gets to know him, she discovers that she really likes him, and those feelings start to strengthen.  She also knows that any relationship they have will end as soon as she has her baby, since he has stated that he has no interest in going through that again.  I liked her independence, though she certainly seemed to go overboard with it at times.  Clay is a great hero.  I love the way that he stepped up to being a dad, even though it had not been in his plans.  He obviously adores his son and I love seeing him be a daddy.  He also has no intentions of having any sort of permanent relationships, intending to devote his time to his son.  He is just as attracted to Antonia as she is to him, and loves getting to know her.  He is still thinking about a no commitment relationship up until she goes into labor.  I loved seeing him work at convincing Antonia of his love, and his proposal at the end was terrific.

Texas Wild - Brenda Jackson (HD #2185 - Oct 2012)

Series: Westmorelands (Book 23) 

Megan Westmoreland needs answers about her family's past. And Rico Claiborne is the man to find them. But when the truth comes out, Rico offers her a shoulder to lean on...and much, much more. Megan has heard that passions burn hotter in Texas. Now she's ready to find out.... 

Good book.  Megan has taken over part of the family's search for information about one of their ancestors.  Rico is a private investigator she hired to help her.  He is also a family member by marriage and incredibly attractive.  When she first meets him at a family wedding she is immediately attracted to him.  When she invites herself along on one of his investigation's trips, he lets her know that he's attracted to her also and plans to act on it.  During their trip some interesting things about her ancestor come out and Rico helps her deal with them.  I liked both Rico and Megan.  Megan is a woman who has pretty good control over her emotions, but Rico is very good at blowing that control away.  She is also very family oriented and determined to find out the truth about her great-grandfather.  Even though Rico insists that he works alone, she still plans to show up to participate in the investigation. She also feels that she can handle her attraction to Rico even though he states flat-out that he's determined to get her in his bed.  I did like the way that she made her own decisions about what she wanted to do.  Rico is a guy who eventually wants a family, but is pretty soured on marriage because of his father's actions.  When he meets Megan there is an immediate connection.  He's reluctant to act on it at first because of the family connection, but changes his mind pretty quickly.  He does everything he can to make Megan want him.  He's also very good as an investigator and finds some interesting info on Megan's great-grandfather.  When the initial information upsets Megan, he is great at making her feel better.  He also starts thinking about the info they got and realizing that some things didn't add up.  The conclusion was very good, and sets the stage for the next book.  The entire book was good, though there were times I felt it belonged more in the Blaze line than the Desire line.