These next two reviews are brought to you care of Wendy.
A Not So Secret Past by Beth Andrews
Why this one: While I missed the review Wendy originally did of this book, I couldn’t miss her excitement that Beth Andrews won a RITA for it. When I did the research and discovered the hero had been in prison for either a) a crime he didn’t commit or b) a crime he committed but in defense of someone who couldn’t defend themselves, I knew this one would be on my Very Short List of books to read. I LOVE this trope and some of my favourite books have this theme. So lickety split I checked and it was available as an eBook.
Not to mention that having discovered the Harlequin Super Romance Line, I’ve read some real gems
Steam Level: Just fine for me!!
Blurb: Nina Carlson knows all about Dillon Ward. Knows he served time in prison. Knows nobody put out the welcome mat when he moved to Serenity Springs. But that doesn’t stop her from renting him a place to live. And when someone crashes into her bakery, he’s just the man to fix the damage.
And Nina isn’t the only one who thinks Dillon’s the perfect man for the job: her two kids have taken a shine to him. Still, she can’t afford to get close to Dillon, even if he is tempting her to toss out
her good-girl shoes. Because it’s not that she doesn’t trust him. It’s that she doesn’t trust herself
My Thoughts: Does this sound yummy or what!?! And Dillon makes for a very scrumptious hero indeed. He’s been out of prison for a while now, living in the apartment over the bakery owned by Nina, our heroine. While he had gone to prison, he fell in the second category – he was defending his younger sister who he had almost raised himself. But still the townspeople don’t particularly care to have an ex-con living amongst them, including Nina. She’s about to toss him out on his kiester after listening to her parents and bossy jerk of an ex. And Dillon isn’t really surprised. He doesn’t expect any support from the townspeople, figuring they would just as soon see him run out on a rail. But while his relationship with his sister is rather strained, more on his end, still she’s family. So when Nina gives him the book, he’s ready to move on. That is until a tough teenager living in a foster home with a gigantic chip on his should crashes into Nina’s bakery and Dillon offers to stay and fix the damage
Nina is reluctant to say yes to the help, her family is opposed, but she does reluctantly agree. Dillon is slowly, and almost against his will drawn into the circle of family and friends around Nina. Her children like him and as penance, he has the young man who did the damage helping out too.
I really enjoyed this book. There’s no question the real draw was Dillon; he’s the kind of hero I adore, withdrawn, almost surly yet drawn to the heroine in spite of himself. As for Nina, well – she was a doormat. She let her father push her around. She let her ex-husband push her around. This can be very irritating, especially the ex-husband bit since he’d pushed her around even in the literal sense. But thankfully she grew a backbone during the story, although a couple of times I did get very irritated by her, when she didn’t stand up for Dillon, when I thought she should have. But I suppose old habits are hard to break and being a wimp that other wimps pick on, isn’t something that’s going to change overnight.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this book and now I have a new author to BOTLO for – one with more books about these people. I like that!
Grade: 4.25 out of 5
Parker’s Price by Ann Bruce
Why this one: Once again this one popped onto my radar when I read a review at Wendy’s. I didn’t have an ereader at the time, but it simmered in the back of my mind. Finally the chance to buy it came when I was trying to write out instructions on how to download books onto the Kobo from third party publishers like Carina Press and the best way to go about that was to do an actual download. See – justifying is so easy! Although Wendy’s review didn’t get the highest grade, I know Wendy’s a lot tougher than me and it sounded like something I’d enjoy reading
Steam Level: Oh man, for a shorter length story, this one was smokin’
My Thoughts: When I read Wendy’s review, her main objection seemed to be that the heroine was alternately drawn to and repelled by the hero because she thought he had got her sister pregnant and then abandoned her. I agree with Wendy, that that was a bit squicky. It wasn’t until fairly late in the story, after Dean and Parker had become intimate that she finally breaks down and tells him why she has run so hot and cold. I have two younger sisters and to me that’s a big no no. You don’t sleep with someone your sister has slept with.
Damn but I love her writing. Although I thought Parker was wrong in what she did, keeping to herself what she thought Dean did, the story kept me fully engaged. And the love scenes – wowzers – very well written. I left a comment on Wendy’s review that I would probably love the hero and she was right. I did really think Dean was mighty fine. He really took charge of Parker, but in a good way, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Since he didn’t know what she seemed to have against him, he didn’t know why she was holding him off, but he was very good at accepting and respecting her boundaries, even if she did seem to run hot and cold.
In fact, I had no sooner finished this book, then I went searching for more books she’s written and I have two of them in my shopping cart at Ellora’s Cave just waiting to be purchased.
Grade: 4 out of 5
So here we go, two new authors with more books to find. Thanks Wendy!