I love Cindy Spencer Pape’s steampunk and paranormal stories and when I saw a book of hers up for review, I grabbed it. This one, however, is a contemporary which for me is a new genre for this author and I couldn’t wait to see what she did with it.
Honestly, the story was okay. Ms. Pape’s outstanding writing style and ability to tell a story kept me interested and kept me reading whenever I could. Though the predictability of the story was disappointing, I was intrigued by Zach and how she dealt with a war veteran. (I’m picky when it comes to vets and Ms. Pape did a good job.) The interactions and depiction of small town life were okay but not the normal stellar that I am use to.
The basic story is okay, local boy retires from the Army and returns home to find a job and a girl. Unfortunately, a lot of stereotypes come with that basic story like everyone from a certain part of town is trash, uses drugs and sleeps around while those from the founding fathers of the town are rich, run the town and have the same jobs their families have had forever. As this is suppose to be a tiny town in rural Texas, I was thinking probably county seat as there is a bit of big town feel to many of the scenes and the sheriff department does not reflect tiny town but midsize town to a county. So, for me there were some inconsistencies which detracted from the basic story.
However, back to that basic story……. It’s pretty good. The characters are well done, even if I didn’t like one of the secondary characters. They are multi-faceted and come across very realistic. Though some of the small town prejudices (stereotypes) come into play, they are done well. The figuring out who is the arson is also done with care playing with the small town attitude that those who look different must be up to something.
I wouldn’t say that this story is a representation of Ms. Pape’s best work. I would say that it’s worth reading and that it will appeal to many romance readers. It is a mainstream romance so don’t expect any super explicit sex scenes and do expect some sweet ones. And, there is a possibility that more stories will come out of Hawthorne, TX as Zach has two unmarried siblings!
Zach Shannon is back in town, and tiny Hawthorne, Texas will never be the same. When the local military hero comes home and starts working for his father, the sheriff, one of his first cases is a string of minor fires that everyone seems to blame on a handful of teens from the wrong side of town. Even worse, Zach is rapidly falling for Laney Burroughs, a quiet librarian whose Goth nephew is the suspected ringleader. Their attraction deepens, but both have too many responsibilities and too much baggage to make it easy, especially with Zach’s wealthy family, Laney’s nephew, and the entire town looking on.