Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hidden Agenda - Kara Lennox (HS #1791 - July 2012)

Series: Project Justice (Book 6) 

Work undercover, catch the bad guy, become a full-time Project Justice investigator. Simple enough plan, until Jillian Baxter recognizes the man she's investigating. Her new "boss" is none other than Conner Blake—her childhood crush. Luckily, he has no idea who she is, since Jillian is no longer Jillybean, the short, overweight teenager he publicly humiliated. 

Despite their past, Jillian knows Conner isn't a murderer. Nor is he that same cruel boy. In fact, there's much to admire about the man he is. Still, this is an ongoing case and whatever is happening between them will have to wait. As she gets closer to finding the killer, she must decide if she can trust Conner with the truth. And that could be her toughest decision yet. 

Excellent book.  I love the Project Justice series. In this book, Jillian has been given her first job as an investigator.  She is to play the part of an administrative assistant to a lumber company executive.  She is horrified to discover it is the guy she had a crush on in high school.  During a science fair project she was humiliated and she has never forgiven him.  Jillian had some problems with letting go of her past with Conner, but did eventually realize that she couldn't hang on to her anger. He didn't recognize her at first, since she has grown into a beautiful woman.  As they work together she begins to see that he has outgrown that obnoxious teenage boy and has become an honorable man.  She also realizes she has never really gotten over her crush and it has begun to grow into something more serious.  Conner was immediately attracted to Jillian, but didn't believe she could do the job.  He had had a succession of assistants and none of them had lasted.  He thought Jillian was an empty-headed bit of fluff and figured she wouldn't last more than a couple days.  When she was able to quickly bring order to his chaos, he began to realize he had misjudged her.  When her reason for being there came out, he was furious, but thanks to the people at Project Justice found that he needed her to help clear his boss.  Even after being told to work together, he still had a problem trusting her abilities.  I loved the way she was able to get information and process it.  She was able to figure out the murderer, but when she told Conner he didn't believe her.  His disbelief nearly got her killed, and he finally realized just what she meant to him.  This was one of my favorite books of the series.

For Just Cause - Kara Lennox (HS #1779 - May 2012)

Series: Project Justice (Book 5) 

Guilt. Innocence. Psychologist and body-language expert Claudia Ellison can sense them both, which is why she's so good at her job. Unfortunately, even the innocent are convicted and this time Claudia's partially to blame. To help free a wrongfully imprisoned woman, she teams up with Project Justice investigator Billy Cantu, the one man she can't read.

They must track down the truth before someone gets hurt. And to do that, they need to trust each other. Only, the ex-undercover cop has secrets he wants to keep, and to Claudia, not knowing everything is not an option. But some things aren't meant to be shared. Because once they are revealed, they can never be taken back. 

Good book.   Claudia feels guilty because some of her testimony sent an innocent woman to prison.  She goes to Billy for help on the case.  Billy doesn't believe in the science of body language, but he does admit that she gets results.  In his former work as an undercover cop, Billy got very good at hiding his emotions and reactions.  Thanks to her past as a foster child, Claudia got very good at reading body language and expressions, and doesn't really feel safe unless she completely understands the person she's with.  She knows Billy is hiding something and really wants him to trust her with it.  As they work together to solve the mystery they learn more about each other.  They also learn that they work together very well, which helps their trust issues.  Both Claudia and Billy learned a lot about themselves.  Claudia finally accepts that she can get close to and trust people without having to know all their secrets.  Billy learns that he can tell Claudia about his past without driving her away.  Overall, I enjoyed the book, though I have to say that Claudia's ability was a little creepy to me.  I understand its usefulness, but using it outside her profession seemed to be pushing unethical to me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Princess in the Making - Michelle Celmer (HD #217 - Aug 2012)

Series: Billionaires and Babies 

Forbidden to Fall in Love 
He was only supposed to tempt Vanessa Reynolds away from her plot to become queen. The pretty, single mother may believe she's going to marry his father, but Prince Marcus Salvatora will do everything in his power to prevent a royal marriage. 

Yet befriending the lovely American and her adorable baby girl has the debonair bachelor awash in confusion. This woman and her child are not schemers. In fact, they could make his life complete. But once she leaves without a wedding ring, the powerful prince knows he'll be forbidden to ever truly make her his own. 

Good book.  Vanessa went to Varieo because the king had asked her to marry him.  He is an older man who had stayed at the hotel where she worked.  They had gotten to know each other and become friends.  She came to Vareio to get to know him better before she said yes or no.  When she arrived, she was met by his son Marcus because the king had been called away.  Marcus had had some bad experiences with women who were after him for his money and position and was sure that Vanessa was like that too.  When he started showing her around by the request of his father, he got to know her and realized that she wasn't the scheming gold digger he thought she was.  Then they fell in love, but realized that nothing could come of it.  Vanessa could no longer marry the king, but she refused to come between him and Marcus.  I liked Marcus, especially after he realized how good Vanessa is.  I liked the way he treated her and I loved how good he was with little Mia.  I liked Vanessa and how concerned she was with the king's feelings.  I also liked the way that she finally dealt with her father.  Overall, a good ending to the book.

Plain Jane in the Spotlight - Lucy Gordon (HR #4318 - June 2012)

Series: The Falcon Dynasty (Book 3) 

Actor and serial dater Travis Falcon photographed with yet another woman! 

Travis Falcon, TV heartthrob, has given the press one too many salacious headlines and his management team wants him to clean up his reputation... So when plain-Jane Charlene Wilkins ends up on set, she's perfect "fake girlfriend" material!

Charlene suddenly finds herself on the arm of the star himself. She may not be a professional actress, but she's proving very adept at hiding the truth behind her visit to L.A.... And, with her feelings for Travis becoming all too real, her life is about to get complicated! 

I really liked this book.  Travis has been in trouble once too often and has been ordered to clean up his act.  Charlene has come to Hollywood to find her boyfriend who hasn't been in touch like he said he would.  When she finds him in the arms of another, she is devastated and shaky.  She is rescued by Travis, who takes her under his wing at first.  Then he asks her help in deflecting the bad press and she agrees, as long as they can be friends.  Over the next few weeks they spend a lot of time together, perpetuating the myth.  Soon Charlene realizes that she has fallen in love with him.  Travis is developing feelings for her, but he doesn't know what they are as he is more experienced with rejection than love.  I liked Charlene - her ability to see under Travis's shell to the man he really is takes him awhile to get used to, if he ever does.  I also liked the way that she protected him from the people who wanted to create more scandal.  Her lack of self confidence made it difficult for her to believe that Travis wanted her for more than just cover.  Travis was a really terrific guy.  I loved the way that he was so grounded and didn't let the fame go to his head.  Seeing him  jump in to help Charlene, and then be so real when they were together was wonderful.  I felt bad for him that his father was such a jerk (as is shown in the previous two books also).  I really hope to see him get his just desserts by the end of the series. It was good to see the other two wives in Paris and know that they saw through Amos as well. I loved the ending, and how Travis went to London with Charlene when her grandmother was ill. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Hot to Touch - Louisa Edwards (St Martin's - Aug 2011)

Series: Rising Star Chefs (Book 1) 

Welcome to the Rising Star Chef competition, where today's hottest chefs battle it out on national TV for a chance at fame, fortune and culinary supremacy. Every contestant hungers to win, but only one will take the prize.

He's got the sizzle...
When it comes to competitive cooking, Max Lunden is no stranger to winning ... though he's never been great at working with a team. A master chef -- and major hunk -- he's traveled the world, picking up new cooking techniques as well as beautiful women. But when the prodigal chef returns home to his family's Greenwich Village restaurant, he discovers one too many cooks in the kitchen -- and she's every bit as passionate as he is.

She's got the fire...
Juliet Cavanaugh used to have a crush on Max when she was just a teenager, hanging out at Lunden & Sons Tavern, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner's oldest, and hottest, son. Now a chef herself -- competing in the biggest culinary contest in the country Juliet will be cooking side by side with the one man she's always admired...and desired. But despite their simmering attraction, Juliet is determined to keep her cool -- no matter how hot it gets. 

I really liked this book.  Max came back to New York when his mom called to help out with the competition.  He was not expecting to find Jules working as a chef in the kitchen.  He remembered her from when they were kids - she was his brother's friend and several years younger.  He left home because he and his father couldn't agree on how to do things in the kitchen.  Gus wanted to stick with tradition and Max wanted to try some new things.  Jules wasn't happy to see him return. She didn't think they needed his help, especially since he couldn't be bothered to come back on his own.  The other problem is that she is still very attracted to him - and doesn't want to be.  She has had a couple bad experiences with men and has no intention of getting involved again.  Within a few days she realizes that there is no reason she shouldn't enjoy herself with him short-term, since he'll be leaving after the competition.  I really enjoyed the interactions in this book.  Besides Max and Jules, there was also Max's relationships with his dad and his brother, Jules's relationship with her mother, and the team relationships with each other.  All the interaction was very realistic to me.  I also loved all the kitchen scenes, seeing each member work together for the whole, and the visit to the market to decide their ingredients.  My favorite scenes were the competition ones, where each person brought their best and supported each other.  The ending was also terrific, when Max finally figured out what he'd been searching for all those years he was gone, and Jules was able to finally let go of her past.  I will definitely be reading the other books she has written. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Son's Tale - Tara Taylor Quinn (HS #1793 - July 2012)

Series: It Happened in Comfort Cove (Book 1) 

Twenty-five years ago…a mysterious crime was committed in Comfort Cove, Massachusetts. Frank Whittier was accused—but never charged. And it ruined his life. 

Now…Cal Whittier, Frank's son, is determined to protect him, to safeguard his father's identity. After years on the run, they finally have their lives on an even keel, with Cal teaching at a college in Tennessee. Two things could change all that.

First, a cop in Comfort Cove starts looking into the case again. And second, Cal gets involved with single mother Morgan Lowen. He has plenty of reasons to avoid her—not the least of which is that she's an adult student in one of his classes. And in Cal's situation, any relationship is risky. Still…it could be the best risk he's ever taken!  

Good book.  Cal and Frank are living in Tennessee, not doing anything to call attention to themselves.  Cal is a professor of English, and enjoys working with his students and guiding them when necessary.  Morgan is one of his students, a favorite as she always has good insights into the literature they read.  Toward the end of her last semester she left his class early in a panic.  After work he went to her house to see if everything was ok and found that he son was missing.  As his dad had been accused, but never charged, of kidnapping a child, Cal was very familiar with the stress she was under.  He stayed through the night to keep her company and keep her calm until her son was found the next day.  This brought them together in a new way, and they realized that they had been attracted to each other for awhile.  Over the next few weeks, as Morgan dealt with issues with her father, her son, and her past, he was there for her.  He was also dealing with questions from a cop delving into the cold case of the missing child, and trying to protect his dad.  Morgan accepted Cal's offer to spend some "man-time" with her son, and noticed a difference in his attitude.  When her son went missing again, and Cal and Frank were questioned, Morgan began to doubt her judgement.  I really enjoyed seeing Cal and how good he was with his students.  He also was fantastic with Morgan and her son.  His caring and empathy was terrific.  Morgan was a great mom, and did everything she could to give her son and safe and happy home.  Her ability to accept Cal's confidence in her helped with her issues with her father, and ended up creating a good life for all of them.  I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, and hopefully finding out what happened to the little girl.

The Last Single Maverick - Christine Rimmer (HSE #2197 - July 2012)

Series: Montana Mavericks: Back in the Saddle (Book 1) 

Look out ladies: there's another Traub bachelor in town! Jason "Jace" Traub is every bit as gorgeous as his sexy twin brother, but rumor has it he is even more marriage-shy. There's not a woman alive who could make this restless rancher settle down…. 

Yet insiders whisper that Jace has been talking wedding plans with Jocelyn Bennings, the chestnut-haired beauty who ran out on her own wedding just days ago! Could the confirmed bachelor really be hooking up with heartbroken, headstrong Joss? Stay tuned, loyal readers, to find out if their marriage of convenience runs amuck—or if lasting passion will finally rope in the last single maverick! 

Very good book.  Jace was in Montana for a family reunion.  He was also trying to figure out a new direction for his life.  He realized he wasn't happy working for the family oil business any more, but he didn't know what he did want to do.  The problem is, everyone in his family is trying to tell him to come back to the business and not listening to him.  He leaves the family get-together for a little while and meets Joss.  She is there having an "unhoneymoon".  She had found her groom and her bridesmaid together at the church on her wedding day and had called off the wedding then and there.  Now she is trying to get herself back together.  She and Jace start talking and decide to hang out together as friends.  She'll come to some things with him as protection from his family's interference and they'll just have some fun.  I loved their idea of just being friends, even though I knew that it wouldn't stay that way.  They spent the week doing things together, getting to know each other, and just having fun.  I could see them get closer, and that they were developing feelings for each other.  By the end of the week there was some serious attraction going on and they decided to act on it that last night before Joss was due to go home.  The next day they decided that, since neither one believed in love any more, but they truly liked each other, they would get married and buy The Hitching Post bar and run it together.  They could also have the family they wanted without the messy emotions.  Needless to say, that didn't last long.  Joss soon realized that she had fallen in love with Jace, and told him so.  He panicked, but she said it didn't matter (yeah, right).  The day of the wedding there was a big scene when her ex-fiance showed up, and Jace realized that he'd been an idiot.  I really loved all the scenes of Joss and Jace getting to know each other, from the horseback riding to just walking around the town.  It made a nice change from the bed first, then getting to know each other of some romances.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Captain and the Wallflower - Lyn Stone (HH #335 - July 2012)

Badly scarred captain Caine Morleigh must marry to inherit. Who better than the homeliest young woman left over at the end of the London season? After all, she will require little attention to keep her happy....

Lady Grace Renfair leaps at the only chance to escape her emotionally abusive uncle and accepts Caine's proposal. Soon she blooms with confidence and beauty, causing her husband's forbidding exterior to crumble.

If she could only reach beyond his scars to the gentleman beneath.... 

Very good book.   I really liked both Caine and Grace.  Caine needed to marry in order to inherit.  Because of his recent injury and scarring he decided to pick a woman who might be less popular and therefore willing to settle for him.  When Caine saw Grace in the ballroom he was immediately drawn to her and offered for her on the spot.  Grace had been kept a virtual prisoner by her uncle and was worried about losing her life at his hands.  She couldn't understand why Caine's ex-fiancee had been so cruel and saw nothing wrong with him.  She was immediately drawn to him also.  There were several attempts made on Grace and Caine's lives and Caine sent Grace to his country estate to keep her safe.  I loved seeing Grace's independence and the way she was able to take control of situations.  I loved the way that she saw what a good man Caine was and wanted to break through his reserve with her.  Caine didn't want to actually care about Grace, but couldn't resist her.  I loved his protective feelings toward Grace and how he wanted what was best for her - even though he didn't listen at first to the fact she wanted him.  I also loved the way that Grace could see what he was doing and didn't let him get away with it.  I enjoyed the culmination of the plot against Grace and how she took part in her own rescue.  I liked Caine's friend Trent, and I hope that he gets his own story.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Nights - Susan Mallery (HQN - July 2012)

Series: Fool's Gold CA (book 8) 

Horse whisperer Shane Stryker is done with passion. This time around, he’s determined to meet someone who will be content with the quiet life of a rancher’s wife. And the fiery, pint-size redhead who dazzles him at the local bar definitely does not fit the bill. 

Small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss has always seen herself as more of a sweetheart than a siren, so she can’t understand why Shane keeps pushing her away. Shane has formed the totally wrong impression of her but only he can help her with a special event for the next Fool’s Gold festival. And maybe while he’s at it, she can convince him to teach her a few things about kissing on hot summer nights, too – some lessons, a girl shouldn’t learn from reading a book! 

Loved it.  Annabelle is the quiet town librarian.  She is getting ready for one of the festivals that will raise money for a bookmobile.  In this festival there is a dancing horse and a dance of a happy virgin.  She demonstrated the dance for her friends on the bar at Jo's.  Shane just happened to see the dance and immediately thought the sexy redhead was just like his ex-wife who wasn't happy unless she was the center of attention.  She also cheated on him many times.  This left Shane with major trust issues.  Annabelle doesn't ride, but has to learn in order to do the festival.  Her friend Heidi sets her up with lessons from Shane, where they both feel the attraction.  Shane fights it hard, still believing that Annabelle is the wrong type for him.  Over the next few weeks they spend a lot of time together, not just with the horse but doing other things.  They also give in to the passion. I loved Shane's patience with teaching Annabelle.  He knew just what he needed to do to help her ride.  I also loved the horse that everyone thought was so vicious, but was an absolute puppy dog around Annabelle.  I also loved the way that Shane took care of his mom's animals and worked to help the elephant to find friends.  Shane also came to Fool's Gold to set up his horse breeding business.  He had no plans to become part of the community.  But this is Fool's Gold and it just sucked him in.  He soon finds himself giving riding lessons to little girls, going to baseball games with the other men, and getting strong armed by the mayor.  When he makes a stupid mistake with Annabelle he finds himself on the bad side of nearly everyone in town - I loved the attitude he got from everyone.  I loved the slow rise of the romance between Shane and Annabelle, and the hot love scenes.  I loved seeing his brothers and the other men trying to explain things to him, and the utter confusion he was going through.  The conclusion was fantastic.  I can't wait for Charlie's story, and then Evie's.

Summer Days - Susan Mallery (HQN - June 2012)

Series: Fool's Gold (Book 7) 

Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to -- the Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could've prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he's finding Heidi -- and life as a cowboy -- much more compelling than he wants to admit.

For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she's always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won't give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less...wholesome.

As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they'll discover that summer love can last a lifetime. 

Another excellent Fool's Gold book.  I loved Heidi and her goats when I met them in the last book.  After a life on the road with a carnival, she is more than ready for a real home.  She put down a deposit on the ranch and moved in with her grandfather and her goats, where she is making a living selling cheese and handmade soaps.  Her grandfather is a charming old rogue, who sold a part of the ranch to May Stryker to raise money for a friend with cancer.  Problem is, it wasn't his to sell.  Rafe has come to fool's gold to either get the land or the money back.  He grew up poor and Fool's Gold and swore never to come back.  Now a judge has said they must share the property until she can decide what to do.  Soon May has she and Rafe moving into the ranch house with Heidi and Glen.  Glen is putting the moves on May, and she has plans for the ranch that do include Heidi and Glen.  Rafe is attracted to Heidi, but doesn't believe in love.  He's looking for a business partnership type of wife.  He also looks around at the land and sees prime development property for housing -- good for the bottom line.  He also finds that as he is stuck on the ranch doing the work his mom wants done that he's enjoying it far more than he thought he would, and his San Francisco business is looking less appealing.  When Heidi finds out about his plans for the land, she does something dishonest that she knows she shouldn't do, but does it anyway as a way to delay his plans.  When it comes out, she's embarrassed and Rafe is angry.  As the oldest when his father died, Rafe found himself (at the age of 10) being the man of the family and trying to take care of his mom and siblings.  The people of the town helped also, but Rafe hated being an object of charity.  Since then he has taken his job as oldest too far and been controlling and inflexible, alienating his two youngest siblings.  Heidi had a friend who fell in love and was so badly hurt that she killed herself, plus her grandfather always claimed love didn't exist. Both of them have to confront their demons before they can find their HEA.  I loved Heidi and how optimistic she usually was.  Her goats were fantastic.  I loved the scene where she came home drunk. I really liked Rafe too, especially once he started getting into the ranch life and spending more time with Heidi.  He was also very good to his mother, even though she drove him nuts.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Superb and Sexy - Jill Shalvis (Brava - June 2008)

Series: Sky High Air (Book 3) 


Despite his brooding bad-boy attitude, Brody knows life has treated him pretty well. His luxury charter airline, Sky High, has given him financial security and the means to take to the skies whenever things on the ground get complicated. And lately, things have become very complicated, thanks to the insanely passionate, or perhaps just insane, kiss he shared with Sky High's gorgeous, wisecracking concierge, Maddie. He's tried to keep his distance, but now Maddie desperately needs help, and it's triggering protective alpha-male urges Brody didn't even know he had... 

For months, Maddie hid her crush on sexy, exasperating Brody behind a cool, kick-ass exterior...and then blew that to smithereens by jumping him in the lobby. Yeah, real smooth. She's tried to break her ties with Sky High, but Brody won't let her walk away--especially now that he knows that Maddie and her twin sister Leena are in big-time trouble. To save Leena, Maddie and Brody must pose as husband and wife, and Maddie is amazed that the man she thought was oblivious to her existence knows her very well indeed. But that's nothing compared to the way she's about to get to know him--intimately, in depth, and over and over again... 

Very good book.  Out of all the characters in the three books, Maddie is my favorite.  From the beginning, I really liked her way of taking care of everyone.  I loved her ability to multitask and to do anything they needed her to do.  She treated Noah and Shayne like brothers, but I could tell immediately that she did not think of Brody in any kind of a brotherly way.  I kept waiting for some kind of indication that he was aware of her also, but it didn't really come until the end of the second book.  I thought the way she dressed that day to get his attention was fantastic.  His stunned expression was even better.  In the third book, when Brody came to find out when she was coming back to work, he realized there was something wrong.  The way that he pretended to leave, then snuck back and broke in to the house was fun to see.  Maddie tried very hard to get him to go away and leave her and Leena alone so that they could disappear, but Brody refused to go.  Even when she tricked him, he was able to catch up with her and stick with her.  Maddie didn't want to draw him into her problems, but ended up being very glad he was there.  She also didn't want to fall in love with him, but she did, even though she denied it.  Brody knew that he and Maddie struck sparks off each other.  By the time they left to try to rescue Leena, he knew it was more than a simple lust.  I liked the way that he refused to be left behind and how good he was at taking care of Maddie.  He had a few issues with his background versus her background, but those ended up being overcome pretty quickly.  I loved the end of this one.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Strong and Sexy - Jill Shalvis (Brava - Jan 2008)

Series: Sky High Air (Book 2) 


In a family of serious over-achievers, Shayne Mahoney has always been the laid-back, easy-going rebel. But running Sky High Air--a charter airline catering to the rich and famous--is a dream come true, in-flight specials included. Like kissing his client's beautiful, brainy daughter in a coat closet. But before Shayne can say "Fasten Your Seatbelts," Dani claims to witness a murder, gets stalked in her own apartment, and as added bonus, gets them both shot at by a mystery sniper. Normally Shayne would be running from the obviously crazy woman, and yet he finds himself trying to help her, leaving him to doubt his own sanity... 

There's a reason Dani never attends her mother's high society parties. The fake people, the shallow conversation--and the fact that she doesn't fit in. She's a zoologist, not a starlet, and happy about it, even if she wishes men like ruggedly handsome Shayne Mahoney would spare her a second glance. Of course, dodging bullets isn't exactly what she'd call the perfect follow-up to their heated kiss, but Shayne makes it clear she can depend on him. All she has to do is hold on tight to his delicious hard body until the ride is over.. 

Very good book.  Shayne first saw Dani at a party Sky High was giving for her mother.  She was messy, klutzy and adorable according to Shayne, who had never before been attracted to anyone like her.  I loved their first kiss in the closet, when they were both blown away by their reactions to each other.  When Dani witnessed a murder, then the body disappeared, someone shot at her, then there was another disappearing body, she wasn't sure if she was going crazy or if someone really was out to get her.  I loved the way that Shayne was insisting on watching out for her, even though he wasn't sure why.  I also loved the way the heat between them really confused him.  He's always been a once and done kind of guy with the women he dated, but he couldn't get enough of Dani.  Meanwhile, Dani was sure that Shayne would get tired of her very quickly, since she's nothing like the girls he usually went out with.  She kept trying to chase him away before she got too involved with him, but finally realized that she was a goner from the beginning.  I really liked the way that Dani was able to read Shayne through the layers he showed to everyone else.  I also loved the way that Noah and Brody gave him such a hard time when it became obvious he had fallen, but was trying to deny it.  The climax with the stalker was fantastic, and really showed how much Shayne and Dani cared for each other.  I am really looking forward to Brody and Maggie's story next.

Smart and Sexy - Jill Shalvis (Brava - Apr 2007)

Series: Sky High Air (Book 1) 

Noah is a bad-boy rebel who's always gone his own way, but when the stowaway on board turns out to be his secret crush, he'll make it his mission to keep the passenger satisfied... 

Flying Solo Is Way Overrated 
Noah Fisher has worked for months to make Sky High the most prestigious charter airline in California. He's long overdue for a break--something involving ski slopes, cold beers, and hot ski bunny babes, not necessarily in that order. The itinerary doesn't include being hijacked by Bailey Sinclair, gorgeous widow of one of Sky High's wealthiest (ex-) clients. But here they are, and being crammed in a cockpit with the scared, stubborn, unbelievably sexy former model he's been fantasizing about invokes Superman tendencies that could get Noah in serious trouble. 

Bailey is desperate to find the stash of money hidden by her conniving, thieving late husband--before the bad guys he owed find her. It's a long shot, but nothing compared to the gamble she's taking by being so close to Noah. Every minute in his company has Bailey thinking about doing crazy, reckless things like touching, grabbing, kissing...and oh wow, being kissed right back. Suddenly, seat-of-your-pants seems like the only way to fly, and maybe it's the altitude playing tricks, but this is one trip she never wants to end... 

Good book.  Noah has been attracted to Bailey since she and her (now dead) husband started flying with him.  Now she has hijacked him and his plane in an attempt to save her life.  The bad guys told her that she had to find the money her husband stole from them or they'd kill her brother and her second grade students.  At first, Noah wants nothing to do with it, but he soon realizes that she's really in trouble and scared.  I really liked Noah and the way he is able to think on his feet and get them out of harm's way.  He was certainly determined to help her and keep her safe.  Bailey wanted to get to the half-built resorts to try to find the money, but she didn't want to endanger Noah any more than she already had.  I mostly liked Bailey, and the way she was trying to keep from causing anyone else to be hurt.  But I have to admit that I questioned her "smarts" on several occasions.  She knew she was going to have to be able to move quickly, but she insisted on wearing totally wrong high-heeled shoes instead of sneakers or something else she could actually run in.  She had a hard time following Noah's instructions, even when the bad guys were practically right on top of them.  And she kept avoiding telling Noah the whole truth, supposedly to protect him - even though he was in it up to his neck from the moment she got on his plane.  I got that they were really attracted to each other, but there were times they were indulging in that attraction that were just plain wrong.  Overall, I really liked the book, just not one of my Jill Shalvis favorites. 

The Rancher's Housekeeper - Rebecca Winters (HR #4321 - July 2012)

Series: In Her Shoes 

Her rugged rancher... 

Colt Brannigan always does the right thing, so he hires vulnerable Geena Williams as his housekeeper. But is this beautiful stranger trouble with a capital T?

Geena is overwhelmed-it takes a brave man to hire a woman with a past like hers. In return for the second chance, she'll make his house a home he'll want to come back to after a hard day's work.

Colt can be gruff, but to Geena his hard-won smile is as tender as a caress. He's let her into his home; maybe one day he'll let her into his heart? 

Very good book.  When Geena showed up at Colt's ranch to interview for the housekeeper's position, he wasn't going to take her.  She told him that she had just been released from prison and he'd had a bad experience hiring an ex-con before.  Then he found out she'd been released and exonerated, and felt bad so he hired her anyway.  Geena was happy to have the job and was determined to do a fantastic job.  She also wanted to find the woman her brother had been living with before he died, so she could find out if the woman had had her brother's baby.  Geena was very independent, and felt bad that Colt was doing so many things for her.  Colt was attracted to Geena, but also was impressed by her work ethic and lack of bitterness.  He'd always been a responsible, take charge guy and continued that habit with Geena.  Geena fell in love with Colt, but didn't want to be just another responsibility to him.  Colt fell in love with her too, but never actually told her so until he nearly lost her.  I loved seeing Gina work at the ranch, making her meals and relating to all the various family members.  It was obvious she loved the ranch and ranch life.  Colt was a little bit clueless, but knew he wanted to keep her around.  I was glad to see them get together in the end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gilded Secrets - Maureen Child (HD #2168 - July 2012)

Series: The Highest Bidder (Book 1) 

Defending His Legacy...At Any Cost
When scandal threatens the luxury auction house that bears his family's name, Vance Waverly suspects the media feeding frenzy is an inside job. Could his gorgeous assistant, Charlotte Potter, be plotting Waverly's downfall? There's one way to find out: seduce the truth out of her!

Charlie is between a rock and a hard place. She can reveal Waverly's secrets to her unidentified blackmailer or lose custody of her child. Whatever she does, she'll lose the career she loves. But losing the man she's come to love-her big, bad boss-could put her over the edge.... 

Good book.  The book starts with a news story printed about Waverly's CEO that threatens the business.  Vance is determined that nothing will bring it down.  He is concerned that his new assistant may be the one leaking information to the press.  He decides that getting close to her would be a good idea - no hardship as he is very attracted to her. Charlie doesn't know what to do.  She has been receiving blackmail emails, threatening her son if she doesn't comply.  When Vance asks her out, and is good to her and her son, she keeps trying to delay the blackmailer.  Finally, she can't stand it any more and tells Vance everything.  As they work together to find the blackmailer, they continue to grow closer.  I really liked both Vance and Charlie.  I love the way that Charlie wants only the best for her son, and works hard to make that happen.  She loves the auction business and is trying to learn everything she can about it.  I also liked the way that she refused to give in to the blackmailer and went to Vance.  Vance was a little harder to like at the beginning, with his decision to try to romance Charlie for information.  I did like the fact that that didn't last past the first time they went out together.  I loved seeing him in the kid-friendly restaurant, so completely out of his comfort zone.  I also liked how quickly he came to care for both Charlie and Jake, even though he didn't recognize it as love.  It took their falling out at the end for him to realize just why he felt so right when he was with them.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

The Wrangler - Lindsay McKenna (HQN - June 2012)

Series: Jackson Hole WY (Book 5) 

Can a city boy make good in the Wild West?

After Wall Street collapses, investment banker Griff McPherson trades in his suits and ties for Stetsons and cowboy boots. He returns to the Wyoming ranch he co-owns with his brother, but it's not exactly a happy homecoming. So to prove to everyone, including himself, that he belongs back in Jackson Hole, he takes a post as a wrangler on another ranch.

Air Force lieutenant Val Hunter has just returned to the Bar H ranch to help her ailing grandmother run the property. While it is full of unhappy memories, Val is determined to do right by her home. Her new hire is easy on the eyes and a tough wrangler to boot, yet her instincts make it hard for her to trust him. When a nefarious neighbor endangers her land, Val is forced to accept Griff's help-but will she finally be able to open her heart? 

Loved the book.  Griff has come back to Jackson Hole after losing everything in the Wall Street crash.  Relations are strained with his brother, so he takes a job as a wrangler on the Bar H, working for Val and her grandmother.  He has a lot to prove, to himself and others.  Val is hesitant at first, but they take him on anyway.  Val has come back to the ranch to help her grandmother run it.  Val's memories of the ranch aren't good ones, as her father was physically and emotionally abusive.  This has left her with a distrust of men.  Both of them felt an immediate attraction, but Val's issues have left her unwilling to pursue it.  Griff senses the wariness, and is very good at being patient.  He sees the attraction in her eyes, but knows he must tread carefully.  There is also trouble brewing.  A neighboring rancher wants the Bar H land and is willing to do anything to get it.  I really liked Griff.  He's not the usual alpha male character.  I liked the way that he admitted to his mistakes from when he was in New York and his willingness to apologize to his brother and try to make things right.  I liked the way that he was protective of Val while accepting her independence and the need to move slowly with their relationship.  I liked Val also.  She had an inner strength that she hadn't realized she had until she came home.  She knew the issues she had and that they needed to be overcome.  I liked the way that she took the time to get to know Griff and realize that he was different than most of the men she knew.  I liked the suspense as they tried to get the goods on the head drug guy.  I can see that things are closing in on him and am looking forward to the next book.  I also really liked Val's grandmother.  She was quite a character and I hope to see her again.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Sky Country - Linda Lael Miller (HQN - June 2012)

Series: Parable MT (Book 1) 

The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father...until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable, Montana. That doesn't sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody -- including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen, whom Slade has never forgotten.

But Joslyn is barely holding her head up these days as she works to pay back everyone her crooked stepfather cheated. With a town to protect, plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter, Slade has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she's responsible only for her own actions -- such as her effect on this lawman's guarded heart. 

I really liked this book.   It starts out with Slade and Hutch at the reading of the will.  Slade is a fairly laid back guy who is pretty slow to anger.  He also tends to think well before he speaks or acts.  He has always resented the fact that his father never acknowledged him or gave his mother any kind of support, but has made a good life for himself in spite of it.  Hutch is ticked that Slade has been given half of everything that he always expected to be his, and is determined to buy Slade out so he can have it back.  Every time the two of them are together the tension is up.  Joslyn has come back to Parable, which she still considers her home.  She is deeply ashamed of what her stepfather did, and sold her software company and used the money to confidentially repay the people he cheated.  There are some people who have welcomed her back, and others who haven't, but she still feels at home here.  She has also felt an immediate attraction to Slade, but doesn't expect anything to come of it.  Slade also feels the attraction and is very interested in seeing where it goes.  Slade also ends up with his teenage stepdaughter staying with him.  I loved seeing her and her interactions with people.  Slade is trying to curb her rebelliousness with work and rules, while Shea tries to get away with what she can.  She also seems to have no filter between brain and mouth and says some pretty interesting things to both Joslyn and Slade.  There are also some good scenes with the dog who adopts Slade and the cat that adopts Joslyn.  The dialogue in the book is great, with sarcasm and humor and tenderness all there. While there wasn't any really intense conflict in the book, there was enough emotion to really suck me in.  I'm looking forward to book two, which is Hutch and Kendra's story, and book three I expect will be that of Boone and probably Tara.

Found: One Baby - Cathy Gillen Thacker (HAR #1254 - Apr 2009)

Series: Made in Texas (Book 4) 

It's no surprise to see a package on Thad Garner's porch. Women are always leaving tempting offerings for the sexy E.R. doctor--and his reputation with the ladies is what makes Michelle Anderson keep her distance. But when Michelle hears a baby's cry, she realizes this is no ordinary delivery....

Thad opens his front door to find his gorgeous neighbor cradling an infant in her arms. Michelle is obviously instantly smitten with the mysterious baby. It seems as if the coolly professional attorney is also a natural mom.

When Thad finds out the baby is a relation, he sets out to adopt little William immediately...and who better to help than Michelle? But how does Thad tell her he wants her not just as a lawyer--but as a wife and mother? 

Good book.  This was a fun baby on the doorstep story.  Michelle found the baby on Thad's porch,  and is immediately taken with him.  She is also attracted to Thad, but has no intention of getting involved with someone who so obviously can't commit to a relationship.  Thad wants to settle down and have a family, but can't see spending a lot of time on a woman if it is obvious pretty quickly that she's not the right one.  From the moment Michelle appears on his porch, he is attracted to her.  When she also bonds with the baby, they decide to work together to take care of him, then try for a joint adoption.  Michelle is cautious about getting emotionally involved since she'd had a bad experience before.  Thad really likes their relationship and where it seems to be going, but tends to rush things with Michelle.  I loved seeing Thad take to the baby and how determined he was to be a great father.  I also loved seeing Michelle's love for the baby, and how he made her life so much better.  I thought their co-parenting plan was really cool and the way they made it work.  It had a great happy ending and I loved the epilogue.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Texas Rancher's Vow - Cathy Gillen Thacker (HAR #1412 - July 2012)

Series: Legends of Laramie County (Book 2) 

Never Again!

Jen Carson made a promise to herself: no more powerful, controlling husbands. So why is she letting herself be tempted by Matt Briscoe, surely the most alpha male in Laramie County? She only agreed to stay at the Triple B to create a series of commemorative bronze plaques for Matt's father. Not end up sharing taboo kisses with six feet four inches of irresistible cowboy. 

A cowboy who also happens to be her client's son. Talk about mixing pleasure with business! And now Jen's suddenly the reluctant keeper of a Briscoe family secret. Which thrusts her into an even more heated conflict with Matt. No matter how strong her feelings for the studly rancher, Jen has so many good reasons to keep him from becoming a permanent part of her life. 

Too bad her heart won't listen to her head.... 

Good book.  Jen is an excellent sculptor who has been commissioned by Matt's father to do some sculptures for him.  Matt initially distrusts Jen because of his father's habit of getting mixed up with gold-diggers.  Pretty quickly his attraction overrules his distrust and he finds himself involved with her.  Jen came from a poor background and has come a long way to get where she is.  She also had a marriage that turned out badly because her ex was using her to rebel against his snooty rich parents.  She swore she'd never get involved again with a controlling man.  Because of his issues with his dad, Matt tends to keep tight control over his emotions, and is also very protective, which leads to him doing what he thinks is best without consulting other people.  This leads to some issues with Jen.  She also has been sworn to secrecy by Matt's dad about a health issue.  This has been more strain on her because she wants Matt to know but can't tell him herself.  Eventually this causes a big blow-up between Jen and Matt, but also shows both men how unfair they are being to Jen and each other.  I liked Jen a lot, because she wanted to keep the secret, but also knew that Matt needed to know.  Matt had to learn to deal with his trust problems and also be willing to let loose of his need for control.  I also loved his cluelessness about what he did wrong and had to have it explained by a female friend.  Overall, really enjoyed the book.

The Family Plan - Cathy McDavid (HAR #1197 - Feb 2008)

Series: Fatherhood 

Is Love Enough To Keep Them Together?

When a fall from a horse ends her show-riding career, Jolyn Sutherland comes home to Blue Ridge, Arizona, to heal and rebuild her life. But the onetime star performer has jumped from the frying pan into the fire... smack in the middle of a brewing domestic storm that could sabotage her blossoming relationship with Chase Raintree, her first love. 

Jolyn's homecoming is a complication the vet and devoted single father doesn't need. Especially with her family questioning whether Chase is the biological father of his eight-year-old daughter. Mandy is everything to Chase, and Jolyn could help him complete his little family. But now that family is in danger of being split apart. Chase won't let anyone take his child away from him, even if it means losing his second chance with Jolyn.... 

Very good book.  Now that Jolyn's riding career is over, she has come home to start her business as a contractor.  Her first big job is for Chase, the guy she loved as a teenager, but who had married someone else.  He's divorced now, but not looking for any more complications in his life.  His ex-wife had had a short affair with Jolyn's brother, and her mother is claiming that Mandy could be Steven's child not Chase's.  Jolyn doesn't believe it, and Steven claims he isn't, but Jolyn feels caught in the middle.  When Mandy's mother comes back to town threatening to make trouble, she nearly causes a tragedy.  Out of the chaos, Jolyn and Chase are able to come together and everything works out the way it should.  My favorite thing about this book was the fact that Jolyn had such a nontraditional job.  She obviously was very good at what she did, and I loved the way that Chase supported her at it.  Jolyn's mom really ticked me off.  Even though everyone told her that Chase is Mandy's father, she just wouldn't let it go.   The ex-wife was the top of the "love to hate" list though - I just couldn't understand her attitude.  It was definitely a book I enjoyed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aidan: Loyal Cowboy - Cathy McDavid (HAR #1409 - July 2012)

Series: Harts of the Rodeo (Book 1) 

Aidan "Ace" Hart left Flynn McKinley heartbroken when he put family duty above her feelings. Then one night, the old passions were reignited and now Flynn is about to get something she's always wanted—a child to love. 

Ace takes his responsibilities very seriously. Running Thunder Ranch and his busy veterinary practice leaves little time for a personal life. That'll only get worse now that he's spending every spare minute with Midnight, the champion rodeo stallion he hopes will save the ranch from financial disaster.

Flynn refuses to marry Ace and be yet one more "responsibility" to him. She wants Ace to want to marry her! And until he admits he loves her, she's determined to raise her baby alone…. 

Good book.  Flynn has been in love with Ace for years, but every time they seem to be getting closer, his family responsibilities pull him away.  He is the oldest of the four siblings and when his father died, leaving the ranch in financial difficulty Ace saw it as his job to step up.  One brother devotes his time to rodeo, avoiding the ranch whenever he can, the other joined the Marines, and their sister is the sheriff of their town.  Ace also has a busy vet practice, leaving him little time for anything else.  When a one night burst of passion leaves Flynn pregnant, Ace immediately proposes.  But Flynn had already been through one marriage where her husband put his work first over their relationship and she wasn't going to do it again.  Plus, he has never actually said that he loves her.  Ace is stunned when Flynn says no, but won't give up.  Unfortunately, it seems that whenever he takes Flynn out something comes up to interrupt them.  Flynn finally gave up and made plans to move away and start a new life, close enough for Ace to visit the baby, but giving her the distance she needed. During the last argument, Flynn accused Ace of using family to avoid making commitments, that he had never really given anyone else a chance to help.  I was glad to see that Ace finally realized what he had been doing wrong.  While I understood Flynn's point of view, I often felt that she was being kind of unreasonable about some things.  I was glad to see that they were finally able to reach the compromises necessary to be happy.

Let Love Find You - Johanna Lindsey (Gallery Press - June 2012)

London society has its very own Cupid. Renowned horse breeder and occasional matchmaker Devin Baldwin pairs eligible young ladies with suitable gentlemen based on his theory of animal magnetism. Unafraid of ruffling the ton’s feathers, this darkly handsome Cupid doles out tips for bettering one’s chances of meeting a mate that are as pointed as the love legend’s sharpest arrows! 

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, is everything a nobleman could desire, yet she enters her third Season still searching for a match. Gossipmongers’ tongues are wagging, and her mystified family is considering drastic measures to find her a husband. But the insufferable advice of this Cupid fellow is the last thing Amanda wants. 

When an earl passionate about horses becomes the target of her husband hunt, Amanda knows it’s time to overcome her fear of riding. With her sister-in-law Ophelia hastening the romance along by arranging riding lessons, Amanda is soon taking instruction from infuriating Devin Baldwin. Astonishingly, in her daily encounters with Devin -- who treats her as an ordinary young woman, not a prize to be won at the marriage mart -- Amanda experiences passion for the first time. Now, her search for a match takes her in an unexpected direction as she finds herself falling in love with Cupid himself.  

Good book.  Amanda has begun her third Season and is still looking for a husband.  She doesn't understand why she hasn't immediately fallen in love with someone.  When she encounters Devin at a ball, she takes an instant dislike to him, especially when he starts giving her unwanted advice.  Devin has set up a new horsebreeding  farm near London and has started attending events in order to make more contacts for his business.  He has fallen into matchmaking because of his ability to match up people he thinks would suit outside of the usual methods.  He is also very blunt and doesn't dress things up in pretty words.  When Amanda sets her sights on a gentleman who is horse mad, she finds she needs to learn to ride in a hurry.  Even though she doesn't like him, she starts riding lessons with Devin.  Over the weeks of her lessons, she finds herself losing her antagonism to Devin and enjoying his company.  She finds him very easy to talk to, and his patience in getting her over her fear of riding was just what she needed.  The only thing she can't understand is why she keeps thinking about him instead of the man she had picked out.  Devin finds Amanda incredibly attractive and not a little frustrating.  But he is a bastard and knows that there is no way he could ever win her for himself.  He tells Amanda of his birth to scare her off from the attraction she feels and is stunned to find that it doesn't matter at all to her.  When she is attacked, he rescues her and while comforting her their passion takes over.  When he tells her she must forget about him, she rides off with him chasing her and someone shoots at them.  Devin takes off to find out who is father is, for he feels that he is the one trying to kill him.  The revelations that come out are very interesting and explain a lot of things that had been happening.  I really liked the ending, and how Amanda's father and brother treat Devin.  Overall, I really liked the book.  The only problem I had with this one, was the frequent use of contractions such as "a'tall", "m'dear" and so on.  It may be the way it sounded when they talked, but reading it was very distracting.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Battle for the Soldier's Heart - Cara Colter (HR #4323 - July 2012)

When Grace Day accepts returning soldier Rory Adams's help for the military fundraiser she's organizing, memories of her teenage crush on him come rushing back. 

Growing up in practically a war zone, Rory's motto is "When you expect the worst, you are rarely disappointed." Yet Grace's sweetness, hope and light threaten his cynicism.

As she discovers the Rory beneath the armor, can Grace convince him to believe in the man he really is: a man so good it brings tears to her eyes—the man she wants to spend her life with?  

Very good book.  Grace was Rory's best friend's little sister.  Rory got out of the military and came home right after Graham was killed in Afghanistan.  Graham's last request was that Rory look after Grace.  Grace has a pretty positive outlook on life, despite her losses.  Rory, on the other hand, is cynical and pessimistic.  He tries to protect Grace from some things that he think can go wrong.  As they spend time together, he finds that rather than his negativity rubbing off on her, he is finding some sparks of hope in his outlook.  When they work together to help a little boy, Grace comes to see the good man underneath the shell, and falls in love with him.  But Rory doesn't see himself as being good for her and leaves to protect her.  I loved the way that they brought Tucker the joy of being a kid, and hope to his mother.  And I especially loved the conclusion, and how Grace got Rory to come back.

A Scandal So Sweet - Ann Major (HD #2167 - July 2012)

A man's life can change in an instant
Zach Torr's life changed the moment he saw Summer Wallace-and he's never forgotten the mockery she'd once made of their young love. The wealthy mogul has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make his former lover pay for her long-ago betrayal. So when she's swept into scandal, he seizes his chance. His deal is simple: Summer will be his for every weekend...until he says it's over. His rules do not allow for emotional entanglement, nor the fantasy of a happy ending. But the revelation of Summer's decades-old secret may change everything. 

Good book.  Zach came back to Bonne Terre to build a floating casino.  This would bring jobs to the town, but also show them that he was not the screw-up that they all thought he was.  Summer came back to try to talk her brother out of working for Zach.  She was sure that Zach was just waiting for a way to get revenge on her for the accusations that her stepfather made when she was a teenager.  When her brother did something illegal, Zach used the promise of not having him arrested to get Summer to agree to his terms.  Summer didn't want to do it, but she needed to protect her brother.  Though both Zach and Summer said they detested each other, their attraction was still explosive. Zach was a very private person after having suffered through a terrible time with the media after his and Summer's breakup.  Summer has become a star of stage and screen and is therefore a media target.  She is constantly having misleading stories printed about her.  During her forced weekends with Zach they begin to repair their relationship, but then they have problems with misunderstandings because of those stories.  Summer also needs to tell Zach something important, but her stepfather gets in first and tells a distorted version of what happened.  This caused a massive fight and breakup.  A trip to see Zach didn't go well and Summer left to go back to work brokenhearted.  Zach got some sense talked into him by Summer's grandmother and finally saw the light.  I loved his climactic scene.  While I really liked the book, Zach bugged me some.  He just always seemed so angry and quick to jump to conclusions.  I really hope that he has truly changed.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Marriage Worth Fighting For - Lilian Darcy (HSE #2200 - July 2012)

Series: McKinley Medics (Book 3) 

When Alicia McKinley agreed to a whirlwind Las Vegas wedding, she'd been swept away by the sheer romance of it all. How could she not say "I do" to Michael James McKinley, the gorgeous doctor who offered her everything she'd ever dreamed of? Still, after years of coming in second to MJ's career, it was time to say "I don't" to the workaholic husband who took her totally for granted. 

But MJ is not a man who gives up without a fight. He and Alicia might not have a perfect marriage, but now that he knows what is on the line, he is determined to risk everything—including his heart—for a second chance with his wife!  

Very good book.  This one was unusual, as the main characters have been married for seven years already.  Although she hadn't been in love with MJ when they married, she has grown to love him very much.  She has been the perfect wife, supporting him, raising his children, doing everything she thought he wanted.  But she spends most of her time alone since he works very long hours, and she has gotten tired of it.  So she packs up the kids and leaves New York for Vermont.  MJ is stunned, as he didn't realize that she was unhappy - she had never said anything.  He follows her to Vermont with the intention of bringing her back.  But she puts her foot down and he consents to trying to work things out.  Over the next few weeks as they spend time together they work at getting to know each other and their expectations.  There are many issues to work out and both of them realize that they each had a part in their problems.  When a crisis brings them together, they realize that they truly love each other and are able to come together stronger than ever.  I enjoyed this book and its different point of view.  It showed that communication is very important, and showing appreciation for one's spouse is critical. I liked the way that MJ was determined to work things out, and found his frequent cluelessness appealing.