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A New Hebby Roman! Esmeralda and the Second-Hand Suitor (Snowbirds Book 2)

I am Adelina Amouteru, the phantoms whispered to my father, speaking my most frightening thoughts in a chorus of voices, dripping with hatred. My hatred. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.” ― Marie Lu, The Young Elites

Three years. That’s how long Esmeralda has before she loses half her worldly goods. But time is growing short on fulfilling the humiliating codicil in her father’s will, that Esmeralda find a husband or hand over half of her family’s grapefruit orchard to her drunken, and yes, male, cousin. The ‘son’ her father never had. Forty and single, shy and, yes, a 40-year-old virgin, Esmeralda was surrounded by gossips and grasping divorcées living on the farm, so she picked up stakes and moved to Brownsville, hoping to find a man to marry so she doesn’t have to give up her home. A man who will love her for her instead of her orchard and the natural gas wells on the property.

Determined to help, Esme’s neighbor sends her off to the local senior recreation center to meet the people there. And Esme does meet someone. Hank, a two-time divorcée from Wisconsin who lives in a Jayco at the beach. Older than Esme would have preferred, his lackluster approach to a work ethic and double divorce status makes him the antithesis of what Esme was looking for. But there is just something about him that draws her, no matter the work ethic her father pounded into her head and her Catholic upbringing that says anyone who is divorced twice is a two-time loser.

Esmeralda and the Second-Hand Suitor is the second book I have read by Hebby Roman. The first, Catalina and the Winter Texan charmed me, gifting a lightness to my heart I hadn’t known in a long time. Ms. Roman’s characters are of the over-40 set, with histories and years of baggage trailing behind them as they embark on new journeys to late-in-life love. It isn’t easy, not by any means. Blended families, histories often filled with pain, loss and betrayal, all these things make us who we are. Finding a way to fit those jagged edges together isn’t easy, and watching Esmeralda and Hank was both painful and uplifting. Esmeralda is filled with guilt over a childhood accident her father never forgave her for. Hank too wears guilt like a shroud from failures that both are, and are not, his fault. Watching their story made me laugh – and yes, cry – and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Hebby Roman is one of my ‘heroine authors’ – an author who writes the truth in such a way that anyone, young or old, can grow and learn from her stories of life, loss and love. If you haven’t read her, you should.

I received Ms. Roman’s book from her in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Love ya, Hebby!

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A Favorite Santa Story Is On Sale – Grab It Quick

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This is a repeat of a review I did last Christmas, but it was such a cute story I decided to repost my review while it is .99 at Amazon – but get it quick, I didn’t catch the sale until almost too late!

I did it. I read my first Santa book before Thanksgiving. Well, seeing as how I have been known to watch The Santa Claus in the summer if I am feeling particularly down, I suppose it isn’t that surprising. And I have to say, as a huge fan of the whole Santa thing, this was a great start to my Christmas Santa Book Season!

 “It is my duty to carry the Gift to the world, whatever the price.”

Erin Sinclair lives in the lap of depression, even if she does live in a town called ‘Christmasville.’ She left her home at eighteen, as many teenagers do, a victim of teenage angst and the guilt of her father’s death when she was ten. It wasn’t her fault that he was driving to pick her up from school in a snowstorm when he died in a car crash. But children never understand that they aren’t to blame when horrific things happen, do they?

Now, her mother is gone as well, and Erin missed the last decade she could have spent with her, living in New York and working as a court stenographer while her mother stayed in Christmasville.

I turned 30 years old the day I killed my mother.

Alone, depressed, drenched in guilt for allowing her mother to die from breast cancer at home as she wished instead of forcing her into treatment, and feeling as if her life has faded away in front of her eyes, Erin is irritated when the cowboy propped up in front of the coffee shop early one morning walks away from her, apparently leaving his overgrown ‘maybe mastiff(?)’ tied to a tree in front of the shop. Klaus is huge, looks like a cross between a mastiff and a chocolate lab and watches her sadly from the coffee shop window. Well, she can’t just leave him out in the cold, right? Claiming the dog isn’t his, at least the cowboy leaves her his business card with the number for his real estate office. She is more than ready to get on with her life, whatever it will be, just as soon as she sells her mother’s house and all the memories it contains.

Cue high, tittering elven laughter… (screech! Sound of tires coming to a sudden halt…)

Make that cowboy laughter! Well, what do you expect when Santa lives in the mountains of Idaho?! (Insert big grin here)

The Santa Society is a wonderful Christmas story, full to the brim with hope, faith and love. But it is different than the ‘so sweet it makes your teeth rot on contact’ stories you may have read before. Similar to It’s A Wonderful Life there is human evil here – pride, vanity, hatred, and a Society developed to protect the meaning of Christmas – which may just be the downfall of everything Christmas stands for.

Erin’s mother’s last wish was that she not lose her faith in Christmas, in love, or in the reason for the season. And Reason McCloud may just help her find those things again.

He’s the Reason for the Season.

Reason, or Santa Claus to those in the know, stands for everything that is good, right and truthful in humanity. But will the corruption of those around him destroy Santa, Erin, and the true meaning of Christmas?

This book is a total and complete joy to read, filled with hope and joy, but also suspense and terror, making it more than just another Santa story – in a Very Good Way!

Review: Taken Away #CleanRomance

Taken Away by Patricia Yager Delagrange“I never wanted to be pregnant. I want to paint. I don’t want to burp a baby, feed it bottles, change dirty diapers. Shit! You know that.” – Serena Middleton, wife of Dr. Jessee Bradford

Serena never wanted to be married. Never wanted to have a baby. But, she did both. Sophia is a beautiful child, and Serena seems to settle. She is painting, Jessee is working as a veterinarian in a 24-hour emergency animal hospital, and they are happy.

Then one day Jessee comes home to an empty house. And neither the FBI nor private investigators can find Serena and Sophia. Kidnapping? Or did Serena simply run, taking Sophia with her? Jessee doesn’t know and, subject to panic attacks and severe depression he decides to leave Santa Monica and return to his home in Iowa to take over his grandfather’s veterinary practice.

There, he learns to relax. To enjoy his grandparent’s company, and even finds someone to love. But then? A visit to a gallery changes everything. Is Jessee’s life destroyed? Or will all his dreams come true?

There are things I liked about the story, and other things that didn’t quite work for me. The book it written in first person, which sometimes works, but in this case simply led to “telling not showing.” It made the story slow going, and I found myself flipping pages to get past the boring parts. Delagrange also devolves into the trite and corny much too heavily for my tastes. For example, there is an instance at the very end, involving Laura, that was just too ‘smarmy on steroids’ for me. It was OK, but not a book I will keep in my stash.

I received Taken Away from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: All I Want (Animal Magnetism Book 7) by Jill Shalvis

All I Want (Animal Magnetism, #7)“Got your 911 freak-out text.” Zoe is freaking out, that is true. After raising her brother and sister pretty much on her own (tell me – what kind of parents tell their twelve-and-under children that they will meet them in Budapest, and then don’t show up for three days? Even if they are diplomats, surely they could have sent someone from the consulate to watch over their kids!) Zoe is finally on her own in the home she inherited from her grandparents. She is going to fix it up and live there. Finally have a normal life, with dates and everything. Of course, it would help if she actually had any carpentry skills – at all – and it would also help if she didn’t get stood up for her first blind date. But she has a dog, a rescued Bernese mountain dog, and her brother and sister love her. She adores her life as a private pilot and flight instructor, so everything else is pretty much OK. Even if she does get lonely sometimes.

But back to the date. Zoe opens her front door and, taking her younger, engaged sister’s advice, gives the hunk on her doorstep a peck on the lips. Only. Oh, snap. It isn’t her date. It is her brother Wyatt’ best friend, Parker James. Parker James, who is to be her tenant for a while. Embarrassing!

Parker sort of likes that kiss. But he is only there for a while, and then he is back to DC in his job as a supervisory special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is supposed to be on vaycay after the death of his partner who was murdered during an attempt to arrest a wildlife trafficking ring. A trafficking ring that is behind a large part of the thirty thousand elephants slaughtered last year for their ivory, thousands of rhinos slaughtered for their horns, and countless tigers, leopards and other endangered animals whose very existence as balanced on a razor’s edge due to poaching. Now, Tripp Carver, the man who killed Parker’s partner and nearly killed Parker himself, is planning to move 4.5 million dollars’ worth of death and agony from a hidden location in Idaho, a place called Cat’s Paw. Parker isn’t supposed to be there. He is supposed to be resting someplace warm and far from Carver. The FBI and the ATF, and multiple other alphabet agencies, apparently have a ‘deal’ with Carver to turn in his brother, the head of a dangerous militia group. Carver is to go free. But Parker won’t have it. All that death, all that horror, his partner’s life. No. Just No.

This is, of course a romance novel, and Jill Shalvis is good with those, especially when you bring animals into the story. Oreo the Bernese is a favorite character of mine in the story. Rescued from a brutal situation, he is absolutely hysterical as he deals with a new person in the house, two new rescued kittens (he is terrified of kittens, go figure!) The story of the cruelty and uncaring slaughter of rare animals by monstrous human poachers is heartrending, and I really appreciated Ms. Shalvis addressing the situation in an intelligent and knowledgeable manner. And the clown show of the ATF, FBI and other agencies all tripping all over themselves to give Carver an out in order to capture “bigger fish” shot my blood pressure through the roof – because I know that nonsense is spot-on. If you enjoy romance novels with strong women characters (I loved Zoe’s strength) and great animal characters, this is the perfect books for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I received All I Want from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

PS – That dog on the cover? Not a Bernese mountain dog. Just sayin’. And Idaho? No beaches there! I would highly suggest a new cover. One that has even the slightest congruence with the story would be good. 

Review: Catalina and the Winter Texan by Hebby Roman #RomanceOver40

Catalina And The Winter Texan“Stop this attitude that older people ain’t any good anymore! We’re as good as we ever were – if we ever were any good.” – Dolly Parton

I’m going to tell you a secret. Young people don’t get it, I know, but just because you are older, that doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love. It just means you have a lot of history behind you – and sometimes working out the details can be a real pain in the backside.

Catalina and Manny both have histories. Some good, like their grown children, and Manny’s grandchildren. And they both have a lot of pain in their backgrounds, as well as all the good stuff. Both are widowed, both have been alone for quite some time. But when Manny shows up on Catalina’s doorstep, literally, to rent a space in her run-down RV Park on the beach on Padre Island, they soon find that finding someone again can be sweet. But it can also be harder than either expect.

Catalina and Manny are great characters. Both over forty, “Why did young people think everyone over forty had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel?” both with families, his in Chicago, hers in Houston, they both have their own lives, far from one another. Neither think they should explore the instant attraction. But when Catalina is being harassed on all sides, by quadrupled taxes, storm damage, and a development company who wants to take her little piece of heaven, her dream, away from her, Manny steps in to help.

The story is realistic in ways I completely understand. Trust is difficult. And with both their families extremely important to them, can they find a way to be together? Do they even want to try?

I got a huge kick out of this book. It was lovely not only reading about people who are older than twenty, it was also interesting to watch two Hispanic people as they fight their own cultural biases about family, dreams, and what it means to be together. Very happy making for me.

I received Catalina and the Winter Texan from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

About this author

Hebby RomanSince the young age of ten years old, Hebby Roman has known that her true calling is literature. Although her desire was evident, she took a slightly roundabout route of achieving those childhood goals. Raised on the border between Texas and Mexico, Hebby graduated with highest honors from the University of Texas in Austin with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She applied her skills as a financial analyst in industries as diverse as television, national airlines, and oil and gas companies. The success Hebby found in this field resulted in her selection for inclusion in the first edition of Who’s Who in American Women.

Thankfully for romance readers, Hebby eventually turned her attention back to writing. Strongly influenced by the culture of her hometown, her novels centered around Latino characters. After she met and married her husband Luis, a native of Puerto Rico, her interest in Latino heritage expanded to include the rich mosaic of Hispanic tradition in the Caribbean. Her books, such as Midnight Promise, have enjoyed great success and Hebby was awarded Romantic Times Magazine “Texas Author” award. When Hebby finds spare time, she enjoys having romantic dinners with her husband, travelling, reading, playing duplicate bridge, and being a baseball mom. She is also a member of the national organization, Romance Writers of America, as well as two local author’s organizations. Arlington, Texas is where Hebby makes her home with Luis and their two sons.

 

Review: The SEAL’s Angel by Petie McCarty #MysterySuspense #StrongHeroine

“I’ll tell you what I’m fighting for. Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It’s all come down to the hope of being with you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

“War always reaches the depths of horror because of idiots who perpetuate terror from generation to generation under the pretext of vengeance.” ― Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier

“The footprints of an Angel in your life are Love.” ― Genevieve Gerard

Cory Rigatero is one strong young woman. A young woman who has suffered loss and betrayal, pain and suffering, and still keeps right on getting up in the morning, fighting to keep her family’s legacy, Bel Tesoro, “Beautiful Treasure” the family resort on the edge of Cory has lost everything. Her parents. Her brother, a SEAL, listed MIA two years ago. Now, it is her and Vern, her manager and general handyman at Bel Tesoro, a pile of bills, and a desperate need to keep Bel Tesoro alive.

Her brother Brian’s last words before he left her all alone six years ago were, “I prayed for a guardian angel for you last night to dog your steps while I’m gone…”

She is going to need that angel – because bad things are happening at Bel Tesoro. Things that may land Bel Tesoro in the hands of Percy “Senior” Standish, local rich bully, who is determined to buy Bel Tesoro out from under Cory and raze it to the ground in order to build honeymoon cottages as part of his own huge, overblown, high class resort on the other side of the lake. And if bad – read, ‘expensive’ – things continue to happen, she may have no other choice.

Of course, the bad things didn’t start happening until “Mac” shows up, all bearded, long haired Harley riding drifter. Vern trusts him, so Cory lets him stay to work. But when two of her resort clients nearly drown due to sabotaged kayaks, and Cory herself nearly dies when the dock collapses, trapping her under the pilings, Mac becomes suspect number one for the sabotage.

There are layers of story here. The sabotage at the resort. A mysterious package from her brother, who has been listed as dead for the last two years. And a break in by two foreign speaking men, “Where’s Formula?” Cory is terrified now not only of losing Bel Tesoro – but of losing her life.

I loved this book. Really loved it. The story line is well-developed, and the characters are believable. There is mystery, suspense, thrills. Cory is a strong woman character without being over-the-top, and highly likable. The pace is fast, and Cory barely has the chance to catch her breath as things spin out of control around her. And the very ending? Well, it was, in a word, a great ending. You will have to read it to find out what happens, but it left me with a huge smile on my face. Again, I loved this book and highly recommend it to mystery and suspense lovers with a quirky sense of humor.

As an aside – a major character in the book? Lucky Luciano. If you aren’t familiar with America Mobster History, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky were three of the most famous American mobsters in history. History comes into play here in Lucky’s story and how it crosses and melds with Cory’s great-grandfather, Brocconi “Brock” Rigatero’s history as he built Bel Tesoro. Lucky’s history crosses my own, as my own grandfather was Lewis Archer Cooper, Chief of Police in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the period. Family stories say that Arch, besides being COP, also owned bars and, uh, hum, “bath houses,” with Lucky. Seeing as how Lucky was arrested in Hot Springs by a federal agent who was investigating “Other Matters” in Hot Springs at the time, I got a huge kick out of reading about Lucky’s part in this story! Oh, and as for one of my pet peeves? GREAT COVER!! It caught my eye right away and led me to read the blurb, which made me want to read the book. Awesome!

I received this book from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. This is the third Mystery Angel Romance. Each stand-alone love story has an angel hidden in the plot, and the angel’s identity is not revealed until the finale unless the reader figures it out first.

About the Author

Petie McCartyPetie McCarty spent a large part of her career working as a biologist at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job in order to write her stories full-time. Petie is a member of Romance Writers of America, and she shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer Spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday Conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

Review: Sugar Springs (A Sugar Springs Novel) by Kim Law

Sugar Springs (Sugar Springs, #1)Wow. Sugar Springs seems to me to be more of a viper pit than a town. Everyone gossips – about everyone. And there seems to be a contest going on between Mrs. G, the town’s biggest gossip, and Lee Ann London’s mother, Reba, for who can ‘scoop the most poop’ if you get my meaning. Heck, Reba even gossips about her own daughter – the daughter, by the way, who took in the twin babies of her nasty, self-centered half-sister when Lee Ann herself was just out of high school. The sister, by the way, who banged Lee Ann’s boyfriend, Cody Dalton, on the living room couch, knowing that Lee Ann was due home any minute and would walk in on the scene. And when said banging produced the baby girls, Candy and Kendra, and nasty sister Stephanie died five days after the birth, Lee Ann took them to raise as her own. Working two jobs, as a waitress in the local café in the mornings and as a studio photographer the rest of the time, Lee Ann has done a marvelous job raising strong, capable, sweet natured girls for thirteen years with minimal help from her flighty mother. They own their own home, the girls are happy and healthy, and everything is good.

Until Cody Dalton comes back into town. He is only staying for six weeks, filling in for the local vet who is going on maternity leave. Cody was the local bad boy who went out with a bang, smashing windows, hooking up his foster father’s truck to the statue in the town square and dragging it behind the truck till the bumper fell off, and stealing said truck to run off into the sunset the same day he did the nasty deed with Stephanie. And now, he is back – and Lee Ann has to decide whether it is safe to let him see the girls. He told Stephanie the day the girls were born that she could just toss them into foster care, so why would Lee Ann even consider placing ‘her’ girls anywhere within the vicinity of a man who could be so cold and callous? And yet, she does.

I wanted to like this book, I really did – but in the end? It was just too sugary sweet, an overdose of precious with a side of smarmy forgiveness. It doesn’t ring true, or believable. It is just flippin’ irritating. And that hurts, because Kim Law’s Montana Cherries was amazing. What a letdown.

Maybe it is simply that I have had a bad run of books lately, but “Doormat” seems to be in fashion. Cody betrays not only Lee Ann in the end, but also betrays his own daughters, never mind that he has sworn that he will ‘do his best to be a good father’. And the betrayal is nasty, planned, and unforgivable. And yet, Lee Ann, and even the girls, simply roll over and take it, and it is all sunshine and lollipops and hugs and kisses within two pages.

Bah. Humbug. The whole thing is just over-the-top, though I am sure other reviewers will find it, “Just so Adorable, Bless your heart! A star for the cover, though this book got Kim Law kicked straight off my Read List.

Review: Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey

Shine Not Burn by Elle CaseyAs I got several pages into Shine, Not Burn I realized something. I had read it before. It was originally published in 2013. Hum… Yep. That is when I read it, when it first came out. The new edition I received through Netgalley is a reedited, republication.

So what did I think of the book this go-round? Honestly, it is good and bad. And that whole ‘good and bad’ thing can’t really be separated out. You see, what is good about it is also bad, and vice versa. Andie is a seriously broken woman, trying to hold herself together the best way she can. After being brutally abused as a child and teen by her mother’s revolving door of drunken, sadistic boyfriends, she decides that, in order to gain control over her life she must work out a lifeplan. A lifeplan that will focus her mind and her actions, allowing her to reach set goals at set times. And so far? So far, the plan has been working out. She got into college, flew through law school with honour, and basically is kicking backside on her way to being the youngest junior partner at her quality law firm.

But then, her friends Candice and Kelly decide that she should tag along with them for Kelly’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas. . . Oy. She really doesn’t want to go. To say that she is a caricature of the overworked, stuffy lawyer is putting it mildly. But off she goes to Vegas, where she meets a cowboy, falls madly in lust, and, well, you get the picture. And she doesn’t remember much the next morning.

Fast forward two years and the guy who dumped her the day she left for Vegas because she went against his wishes and went with her “useless” girlfriends instead of “minding” his orders and staying home, isn’t in the picture any longer. Nope. It is the guy that she and her assistant and girlfriends despised with a passion ‘back then’. A soulless wanker, but he ‘gets’ her lifeplan, works with her to meet her goals, and is willing to create the 2.5 kids and the shared partnership. So what if he hates her friends, hates her assistant, and, yeah, that whole soulless wanker thing? And she ‘doesn’t even remember’ that she used to despise the guy – he fits in the little box, so it’s all good.

We already know all about the Vegas wedding she didn’t remember . . . and the ‘fix it quick before the fiancée finds out’. The rest of the book, starting with the trip to Oregon to get the divorce papers signed, is amusing in many ways. A lot of the storyline is given away in the blurb about the book, so there isn’t a lot to say about that.

What is to say has to do with how Elle Casey handles Andie and her issues. To be honest, like her friends I also wanted to shake Andie until her head rattled. She was abused as a child, that is true. And it explains her rabid need for total control off her life. But instead of growing beyond that, she suffers from “doormat disease” – getting with a guy and allowing him to totally control her – much like her mother’s abusive boyfriends. And in order to meet her goals, she accepts it. She gives up her girlfriends who try to help her see what she is doing to herself, and plows ahead with her ‘plan’ no matter how everyone around he tries again and again to show her what the most recent soulless wanker is turning her into. I can understand the lifeplan – but what is a lifeplan if you wake up one day and realize you never had a life? Come on, girl. Ever consider a therapist instead of marrying an obsessive, controlling prig? You really want to have kids with this guy?

I can understand Andie, but I couldn’t make myself like her. She was too weak, too determined to continue to destroy any chance of a real life in order to stick with that list she was so fond of. Gavin “Mack” Mackenzie and his family are beautifully drawn and likeable, as are the characters Andie runs across in Oregon. What I finally felt at the end of the book? Pretty much the same thing I felt the first time I read it. Mack was too good a guy for Andie. Sorry about that. I am usually much more forgiving of women who have been abused in such a way, and I honestly understand her obsession with her lifeplan – to a point. But when she absolutely, unequivocally refuses to acknowledge that her lifeplan is making her absolutely miserable at this point and she still sticks to it, no matter that she knows that it isn’t working out? Meh. She devolved into an immature child, with the emotional maturity of a six year old having a tantrum and holding her breath to get her way. It disappointed me and took what could have been a good book into a dark place. I know a lot of people “wuv wuv wuv” this book for the cute HEA, but there are serious issues that could have been addressed more appropriately.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoyed you review, please “Like” on Amazon. It helps draw attention to the books I review. Thank you.

Review: Summer on the Mountain by Rosemarie Naramore

Summer on the MountainSummer on the Mountain was the perfect book for me to pick up today. After going out in the predawn light to plant raspberries, I came in hot, tired, and sore (and covered in mosquito bites – this humidity has caused a huge influx of the nasty little buggers!) After a long hot shower, it was time to relax. And this was just the ticket.

Summer Windham loves her job working in an art gallery for her good friend and boss Gwendolyn Lawton. The only thing missing in her life is her painting. Her muse abandoned her when difficult clients put her through the wringer, trashing her self-esteem and self-confidence. Now, a year later, Gwendolyn is determined to bring back Summers Muse. And though Gwendolyn considers the Great Outdoors to be an anathema:

“When I took my vows, I promised to love and honor. I never said anything about roughing it in the wilderness.”

She sees an opportunity to get Summer painting again, and to get back into her husband’s good graces for running out on his sixty-fifth birthday (that whole “wilderness” thing), by sending Summer up to their family cabin to paint the cabin and lands that her hubby, Leonard, loves beyond measure. Summer loves landscapes – surely getting out into nature will help her find her center again?

Summer is excited at the idea of visiting the cabin, though she worries that her muse will never return. And the fact that her first day there is, to put it mildly, an unmitigated disaster, doesn’t bode well for her summer in the mountains. The local game warden, Gwendolyn’s youngest son, Jarrod, manages to cause her to fall into the freezing lake, accuses her of being a burglar, threats her with arrest, and generally leaves her standing around freezing in her sopping wet clothes while waiting around for the sheriff to come take her to jail for a litany of offenses he thinks she has committed. Well, how was she to know you aren’t supposed to fish without a license?! And if the big jerk would just call his mom and check, he would know that she wasn’t a burglar! Sheesh.

Devastating poaching, break-ins and robberies are bad enough, but being covered in poison ivy, suffering a nasty cold from having to stand around in freezing weather after a freezing dunk in the lake, and being chased by an angry mamma bear is bad enough, but the jerky warden next door is nearly as big a pain in the backside as all that combined. But when her cold passes to him, Karma is a beeotch. And my wicked grin made several appearances from that point on.

This is the first book by Rosemarie Naramore I have read. I may not get around to reading any more of her books any time soon – so many books, so little time – but I did enjoy this lighthearted romance with an undercurrent of the terrible things that humans do to animals all in the name of profit. Jarrod comes off from the first as a smug, self-absorbed jerk of the first water (He jumps to the conclusion right away that, since she isn’t a burglar, his mother must have sent her as her latest attempt at matchmaking. HA! “Honey, you’re a good looking man, and as your mother, I love you to pieces, but sweetie, you are an arrogant. . .”). Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth! But his love for the creatures and the land is vividly drawn and believable – and besides, he may be an idiot, but he is a gentle idiot – and maybe not such an idiot at all (if he can just get his head out of up there where it is dark!)

A relaxing book with suspense, mystery, some action, and a gentle, believable romance.

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