Foam by Robert Neil Baker


Foam by Robert Neil Baker
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (329 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

It is 2009; the auto industry is imploding. Charlotte Kirby and car manufacturer customer Bill Arnold’s romance gets hopelessly caught up in the intrigue and in-fighting over her new urethane foam. Can it save her company and his career? Who is bent on ruining the project, violently if necessary? Charlotte loses an important player to a suspicious accident, and another defects to a rock band. Bill’s bosses and co-workers at his struggling employer launch selfish agendas. A friend dumps one key co-worker for another. The lovers are challenged by thefts, assaults, kidnapping, and a laboratory disaster. Time is running out, can they unmask the villain and learn the true secret of the foam?

Bet you could guess a long time and never figure out what this book is about from its title.

I am not going to ruin this book and tell you anything about what “foam” could possibly have to do with a mystery. While this is indeed a mystery, it is also a wonderfully funny spoof on the giant automakers of our country as well as those in competition from other countries. This story is basically about the plight of the automakers in 2008 with the rising oil prices and first and foremost, it’s about money. It’s about the competition between automakers to stay alive, to develop the best products, and to have them on the market first. The need to be secretive about those products was worse than football coaches hiding their mouths from the TV cameras.

There are scenes that are humorous and others that are realistic. There are desperate people facing failure and those trying to stick their heads in the sand. It actually reminded me of Hollywood where actors and actresses are all trying to stab their competitors in the back, while smiling in their face. It draws a good picture of how many businesses and individuals were affected by one or more automakers starting to fail. But still…it’s a mystery with even a little bit of intrigue and tongue-in-cheek mixed together.

This was a long read in some ways. It seemed to me that there were a lot of characters but in hindsight I don’t know that this is true. It takes a while to build a diagram in your mind figuring out who belongs to which company and for that matter who is “who”. I don’t think the characters are well-developed. I don’t mean to say that you can’t get a sense of the characters; I just think it was a little confusing. It was sometimes hard to determine which was mystery and which was spoof. Then again, maybe that was the idea.

Having said all that… long read or not, I read it all the way to the last page. The storyline kept me wanting to know what would happen next and which company ended up with the secret.

Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows


Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (208 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Rashid will help Olivia and the baby escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again.

Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If he learns that the baby she’s been caring for is actually hers–and his–she’ll everything that matters to her.

Their escape involves traveling with nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger, Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?

Did this story accurately describe the locations from Behruz to the mountains into Iran? I have no idea since I’ve never been to those locations. The setting sounded authentic and aesthetically pleasing to me. Was the plot plausible or the story realistic? It was for me. I’ve never been on the run or in another country never mind a hostile one. However, from what I’ve seen on T.V. or in the movies, I thought the story was believable and entertaining.

The hero, Rashid and the heroine, Olivia, had an undeniable attraction towards each other that was tested throughout the fast paced, never-a -dull-moment plot. I had to lower the air conditioner down because of their chemistry. I was drawn to their love story and couldn’t wait to see if they took the risk to lose their hearts once again. As if the story wasn’t exciting enough we had to endure the Sultan of Behruz and his selfish manipulations.

I felt this story was more of a “how to get to from one place to another without getting caught” travelogue. My anticipation was bigger than it needed to be. Ms. Meadows missed an opportunity to engage me and keep me riveted. A case in point was how the Sultan of Behruz was portrayed. He was a man of selfish persistence. I had high expectations for the “escape” plot but it felt a bit flat. I guess it might make the story unpredictable for others but for me, I felt disappointed from the lack of surprise. There was so much potential but the story missed the mark.

Overall though, I was pleased with the happy ending and how all the plot threads were tied up. If the synopsis sounds interesting to readers as it did me, then I suggest you give it a try. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my friends. It had enough good stuff to make it worth it.

Magic in her Eyes by Donna Dalton


Magic in her Eyes by Donna Dalton
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full length (310 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

Meredith has visions. She can’t control them and she needs to be next to a deep rooted tree to bring them to life, but she can see the future. When she tells her parents her stepbrother is going to be killed by their bull, no one believes her. When it comes true, her father bans her from the house. She has nowhere to go. She finally travels cross country to her aunt’s orphanage. She can help run that.

All the children in orphanage have special powers, so they spend time inside learning to control them and they are sworn to silence about such things when in public. All is going well until the Indian threat comes close to them and they must join the others in the fort.

This story is set during the time Indians were being relocated to reservations. The author describes life at that time and the hardships everyone faced. If hiding abilities isn’t hard enough, they have to eat at the mess hall. While there, one woman gets in Meredith’s face and tells her she can’t be friends with the lady she invited to sit with them. One of the girls tells the woman secrets from her past and they suddenly called witches!

There’s danger, lots of action, Meredith finds herself falling in love with a soldier, and the ending is exciting. The story flows well and it’s a joy to read. When a boy goes missing towards the end of the story, you find yourself worrying about him just as much as Meredith. It’s also fun to watch the soldier who didn’t like children come under their spell. This was a very good read.

A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith


A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?

Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.

A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.

From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth?

Does Kendall really want to know the truth?

When her husband, Tim, died, Kendall lost the love of her life. Nearly two years later, just as she’s ready to move on, Kendall stumbles onto information that brings to light Tim’s secret life. As Kendall digs deeper into the past, she discovers a conspiracy much larger than she could have imagined. With people of questionable integrity pressing her for information, is there anyone she can trust?

Kendall is a likable character. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her longing for Tim and her simultaneous need to move on is intense. My heart ached for her as she tried to balance her budding desire for a new man with the deep love she still felt for her dead husband. She is always a swirling mix of emotions, and that made her feel very realistic.

This story is compelling, but not something I raced through. The suspense of this tale comes from not knowing who to trust. As I read, I was always trying to puzzle out the motivations of each character. Even characters that seemed infallible proved to be weak at times. I was never quite sure who was truly trustworthy.

I never really warmed up to Ryder, Kendall’s step-son. Like Kendall, his emotions have been chaotic since Tim’s death. I can certainly understand that, but Ryder makes it hard to like him. Kendall is very patient and kind to him, but he treats her very harshly. I will say that I saw glimmers of hope in him, but never felt a solid change in him. I want to believe that he will be a better man from now one, but I’m just not sure.

The ending is surprising and mostly satisfying. I think the conclusion is in part open to interpretation, specifically the epilogue concerning Ryder. I can’t say much without spoiling the story, but I will say that the reason I’m not completely sure of the ending go back to my misgivings regarding Ryder and his character. I don’t think I would have any doubts about Ryder’s actions and motivations if I were more certain of his character.

I enjoyed reading A Deep Thing. The characters are interesting, and the plot is compelling. Readers looking for a good suspense should give A Deep Thing a try.

Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner


Wyatt’s Bounty by Kim Turner
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (292)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is taking down outlaws one at a time. He’s been in love with Tess Sullivan for years, but she refuses to give in to her feelings. Reeling from the rejection of his marriage proposal, he chases bounties with little concern for his own safety. When word reaches him that Tess never left for Boston, he rides for Cheyenne to confront her. Instead, he is ambushed and left for dead.

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her heart by refusing Wyatt McCade’s marriage proposal and making the biggest mistake of her life, by holding onto a secret. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he arrives in Cheyenne near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in his arms, but she finds herself a pawn in a deadly game of revenge.

When McCade lands are threatened, Tess is caught in the balance. On the bounty hunt of his life, Wyatt will risk everything to rescue the woman he loves.

Oh my goodness! What a great book! Wyatt’s Bounty just has to be made into a movie in the near future. I had no idea this book was book two in “The McCades of Cheyenne” series until after I finished reading it. Therefore it’s safe to say it can be read as a standalone. There was enough awesomeness in Wyatt’s Bounty to have its own movie. I am very curious and want to buy book one which is called Sawyer’s Rose and see if it’s as spectacular as its sequel and if it should be included to make one featured film. This is my first book written by Kim Turner and I might have found a new favorite author. I did Google her to see what other books she has written. I was that smitten with her writing style. Wyatt’s Bounty was absolutely entertaining from the beginning to the end.

Wyatt McCade, the hero, was amazing. Everything you’d want in a book boyfriend. If you look up the definition of a hero you’ll see Wyatt McCade. I easily swoon for cowboys naturally but Wyatt was my everything.

Dr. Tess Sullivan was a fabulous match to Wyatt. She was intelligent, caring, strong and of course beautiful. I was a little jealous of her but it was made very clear that she was the only woman for Wyatt. He didn’t have any interest in anyone else. I would never have stood a chance.

I already stated that the writing style was phenomenal from her word choice to her sentence fluency. There was a well-established cast of characters that flowed like a well-oiled machine. They all interacted and cared for one another. There’s a warm sense of community in Cheyenne enhanced by an organized web of characters all synchronized into a rhythm of love, joy and family. No bounty, outlaw, or land stealing thief stands a chance in their town. Not with the McCades of Cheyenne!

I was easily transported into the action. The plot had me frozen to my seat. I wasn’t moving for anything. There was never a boring moment. It was one unpredictable, emotionally provoking scene after scene. Not in my wildest imagination could I have thought of all the details that were implemented in this masterpiece.

Is there anything about this book that I wish was different? I can’t find one criticism. It even had a prologue and an epilogue. The ending was as solid as the entire book was. The novel gave me complete closure leaving me feeling more than satisfied.

I don’t have any qualms about recommending this book. I found this book full of love and romance. My expectations were more than met. Wyatt and Tess filled my emotional love tank. I guess the only criticism I can come up with is that I didn’t want it to end.

The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly


The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (368 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

I started this novel anticipating a romance between Ranger Rex Duncan and Regina Howard. The synopsis piqued my interest. It sounded like I was going to get to read an intriguing sequence of events with some sensual true love mixed in. While all my expectations weren’t exactly met, I was pleasantly satisfied with the plot thread of uncovering the ring of Kansas ranch thieves.

I believe Regina, the heroine, would describe this book as a tranquil and sophisticated piece of work that was slow to evolve with its abundance of verbiage. I think Rex, the hero, would say this book would be a great book to bring on an extra-long relaxing vacation.

Ranger Rex needed a false identity to infiltrate and uncover the villains. While Regina Howard needed a new husband’s name to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch. I quote “Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.” I interpreted that incorrectly. The “needs” they needed weren’t romantic needs. In fact, this book barely qualifies as a romance for me. The writing style didn’t have the emotional conflict of a ‘cat & mouse chase’ romance between two unlikely people, instead I consider this book to be more of a mystery. The entire book was about uncovering the ring of murderous thieves and land grabbing cutthroats .

The synopsis says that Regina “is the most obstinate woman” Rex has ever known. I agree with that statement. I think Rex deserved a better leading woman to be matched with. She was from New York and the setting is in Kansas. Regina adapted to Kansas but still had that New York style class about her. Rex is a Ranger and skilled at being a rancher. Well, Regina would use these words that most people don’t use in every day speaking. Rex wouldn’t know what some of the words meant and I felt that made Rex look dumb. Then, Rex had “ranch” lingo that he used that Regina didn’t understand but it still made him look dumb. I think this might have been an attempt at humor to make me laugh, however, it made me dislike Regina for the way she belittled Rex and therefore I was unable to connect with them as a couple. This is especially true since there was little chemistry between them. There has to be more for me than “she looked good in a pair of pants” and “he was strong”. I understand that not everyone likes public displays of affection. It was obvious that Rex and Regina grew to care about each other by their actions. Sometimes, thoughtful actions speak louder than words.

Despite my disappointment in the lack of open affection in the romance department, Rex’s false identity to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves was worth the read for me. Oddly enough, for some reason this book reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. Rex would be a mix of Fred and Velma and Regina would be Daphne. There is a character that would be the unmasked villain at the end but that would be a spoiler so I can’t mention the character’s name. There are clues along the way though and it wasn’t a totally predictable plot. There were a few surprise moments which I appreciated. I grew up loving Scooby Doo so I enjoyed this book from the point of view of it being a mystery.

I do think The Lady’s Arrangement was worth my time to read because it had a nice ending. I liked how it came full circle back to how it all started. I would recommend to readers of sweet romantic suspense and mysteries to give this novel a try. I know my mother and my mother-n-law would love this book because they enjoy clean, innocent, and well written stories between two adults who grow to respect and care for one another.

Bandit’s Bride by Gail MacMillan


Bandit’s Bride by Gail MacMillan
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (284 pages)
Heat Rating: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Is Louisa Abbott a witch? The villagers, who saw her burn the ship where her doctor husband’s body lay with others who had died of an unnamed illness, believe so. Even worse, she communicates with animals. No one, other than her Native friends, is interested in her healing abilities, so she lives alone, companioned by a wolf who owes his survival to her. Brodie MacMillan is a Highland bandit with the New Brunswick law hot on his trail, despite the injustice of the accusation against him. When he arrives at Louisa’s remote cabin desperately wounded and nearly frozen stiff, her magic might save his life, but how can he rescue her from the wrath of the villagers and then from the vengeful woman who is out to make him pay for past deeds?

He’s in the tavern having a beer when his nephew comes in and tells him he needs to come with him right now, there’s a witch outside. He asks if she’s green with a big wart on her nose and he gets told no. When he sees her, all he can do is stare. She’s a beautiful female picking up stores at the market next door. He hears them taunt her and offers to help carry her goods out. She lets him and thanks him and he’s smitten.

This author not only paints a picture of a beautiful land, she takes you back to the time period and makes you believe you’re living there with them. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance and you feel their disappointments and sorrow as one woman plans to bring his family down.

He’s the bandit. He and his friend he calls his brother fought in Scotland. They’re in America now and they have left the bandit life in the past but actions of the past come back to haunt them. He makes the mistake of trying to help a woman who’s laying in the snow and has lost her horse and then she drugs him and accuses him of rape. His brother arranges his escape but he gets shot. He thinks he’ll die in the snow but he finds the witch’s house…

With a mix of Indians, pirates, rebels and more, the story is exciting and full of action. There isn’t a dull moment in this book. The woman after him is dangerous and wicked and the final confrontation is an all-out war with some sad consequences. It’s a happy ending, though. Love wins.

The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois


The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (247)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.

As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.

That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

At the end of the book there is “a word about the author…”. I must quote it for you because I believe it would have been beneficial if I had read it in the beginning of the book. “Daphne Dubois writes steamy contemporary romance and loves putting her characters in awkward situations. She believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference.” I must say that the author was an over achiever. This book is anything but your average romance book. The characters, plot, and setting were all unique, contemporary, steamy and awkward, yet, heartwarming. It all makes for an entertaining read.

The heroine, Maxine, is relatable and I connected with her. However, I felt like she was an endorsement for plus size woman. It’s wonderful that our society is finally embracing body diversity and we’re seeing a greater acceptance of girls in different sizes. I applauded Sports Illustrated when they featured a plus size model on its cover. Name brands and magazines are finally paying attention and we’re seeing less body shaming in society. Therefore, I had trouble with Maxine constantly struggling with her self-image. I would have liked a stronger leading character. Yet, I understand the need for the focus to be on her weight concern because it was significant to the plot. There was a moral to this story; The Right Fit was more than just the size of the clothes.

Our significant others can be “The Right Fit” – which leads me to the hero, Antony Laurent. I don’t have any complaints about him. He was divine and I wish he was mine. Antony’s first language was French so he struggled to speak English; that was entertaining and romantic at the same time. I loved that Antony was a hockey player for the Toronto hockey team. I grew up around hockey and met my husband at a hockey game. I had no issue considering Antony to be my book boyfriend. He was drawn to Maxine and accepted her for who she was inside and out. She was very lucky to have that chance encounter with him. Together they were “The Right Fit” and full of chemistry.

There were other significant characters that were relevant to the plot such as Maxine’s twin sisters, Crosby and Rose. Maxine also had a brother named Westley. Westley had a best friend since elementary school named Stuart. The most special character that was heartwarming was Carmine. The character that caused conflict was Antony’s brother, Marc. Together they made for a memorable cast of characters.

My attention was caught starting with page one. The author’s writing style kept my attention all the way until the end as I continuously turned the pages at a steady, moderate pace. I enjoyed the quirky awkward moments since they made me snicker from the imagined embarrassment that I’d feel if I was in that situation. I can’t say the plot was predictable. There were plenty of emotional provoking threads that were unexpected.

Here is the point where I get perplexed about my review because near the end of the book I got perturbed. Without giving any spoilers there is an unexpected and unnecessary scene that as far as I’m concerned was pandering to make yet another social statement. Prior to this scene I was satisfied with how the story was progressing. The scene was not relevant or necessary to the romance between Maxine or Antony. The entire scene was rushed, illogical and superfluous. The scene could be cut out of the book and no one would miss it because it had no relevancy to the plot. I felt the author did the story a disservice by adding that m/m kiss – literally seconds before the monumental moment where the leading man and leading woman realize they are destined to live their happily ever after. I have no issues with gays, lesbians, transgender or whatever but I would have liked to have been warned that there was some m/m in this story. It’s not my style to read those kinds of books, even if it’s one scene. This scene happened with 10 pages of the story left! I didn’t see it coming. If I was in the audience I really don’t think I would have been cheering and applauding.

This was a worthy read despite the irrelevant scene. I was entertained and would recommend this book with a warning about the m/m scene.

Fortunately there was an epilogue which helped erase the shocking scene from my mind though not completely, hence the difficulty of writing this review. Luckily this story had many great scenes such as when Maxine, who is an esthetician, loved to name the colors of her nail polish. I thought that was clever and unique how the author connected the name of the polish to the current scene at hand. I wanted some of her nail polish that she described. I loved the humorous sexy banter between Maxine and Antony. I appreciated the dedication at the beginning of the book. It says “This book is dedicated to every woman who has ever gone bathing suit shopping—you’re beautiful and worthy. Own it.” This was definitely the moral of the story. A great message for all women.

Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker


Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (285 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Carolyn Cotter, talented big-city ad executive, confuses the house number of her destination with that of a famous music mogul on the same street. Suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a police investigation regarding a missing platinum statue.

Simon Bergman, an accountant for the music mogul, is pleasantly surprised to meet such a charming young woman at his boss’s party. He is less pleasantly surprised when she dashes off without a farewell. Finding her again, he becomes her ally in seeking out the real culprit.

Will what they learn about themselves and about life land them in jail, or in love?

Could you mistake a farewell party for a funeral? Depends on the circumstances doesn’t it?

This is a story of people and their jobs and the ups and downs of everyday life. This is also a story about the way we all know people can act when we need them; some let us down and some support us. Sort of like life. This was a good read that really had its twists and turns and sure surprised me.

I liked this author’s characters, the closest ones were really fleshed out. I often define this kind of character development as a good “picture”. It’s important to me to have a sense of their personalities and maybe even an idea of what a few of them look like, in my mind at least. I did feel as if a few “scenes” were somewhat repetitive in this book. It seemed to bog down a little in the middle but the author’s style was clean and there was a clarity in the storyline I enjoyed. The book did keep my interest and seemed to pick up quickly.

There was a little humor in this book. The kind I always enjoy, that somewhat sarcastic making fun of oneself in a narrative sort of way. The author did it here utilizing the main character, Carolyn, and did it very well. This was a fun book to read.

Laked by J L Wilson


Laked by J L Wilson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Vivian DuLac, shop owner of Curiosity’s Curios and Collectibles, has come into possession of an old sword that Arthur (“Able”) Leroy wants. But that’s not all that Able wants. He wants Vivian and her connections to her ex-husband, CEO of a large software company.

Able follows Vivian to northern Minnesota where her ex-husband is meeting to discuss a merger with another company. It’s the one that Able used to own and the one taken from him by his scheming stepsister, Faye Morgan.

When Faye dies under unusual circumstances, everyone associated with her comes under suspicion, including Vivian and Able. On a storm-shrouded night, Vivian finds out if she can trust Able. And they both find out if an ancient sword is worth Vivian’s life.

If you ever watched the TV show Matlock or the TV show Murder, She Wrote and enjoyed them, then that gives you an idea if you will enjoy this book or not. I loved those television shows and therefore enjoyed reading this book. The synopsis sounded intriguing to me and I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s not very often I read a book that the hero and heroine were “older”. It did put a different perspective on things but in a good way. They were mature, established and still young enough to have some romantic chemistry.

Vivian DuLac, the heroine, was a strong, independent, successful business owner. She was past the age of worrying what other people think of her. She said what she thought regardless of the outcome and was still well liked and respected by others. She could protect herself from danger when needed. Vivian was intelligent but a bit gullible and easily trusted others. I found Vivian’s characteristics easy to relate to.

Able, the hero, was complex and I can’t say much about him because he’s a huge part of the suspense/mystery plot. He has secrets and motives that made the book worth reading. He was strong, handsome and kind. He possessed the qualities of a heroic leader.

As a couple, their relationship worked considering the intricate plot. Between the sword, the history of the sword, the merging of the companies, the mysterious death of the character, Faye, there was a lot of depth to this story. Vivian and Able have individual past histories that are intertwined in this swirly plot. It was all fascinating how the writer master planned this elaborate story and still incorporated a budding romance between the lead characters. I particularly got a hoot over their love scene. That was the most unique love scene I’ve ever read.

There are several side characters but I didn’t get lost or confused. They each had a relevant existence to the evolving story line. Together they created a well gelled cast of characters. I enjoyed reading the setting as it was described at a lake. I’ve been to Lake Winnipesaukee once and we rode in a boat all over that lake. With that personal experience I was able to vividly imagine the setting in my mind.

The writing style was creative, unique and polished. I already mentioned how the lead characters were “older” as in old enough to be in their menopausal stage of life. I haven’t googled J L Wilson therefore I have no idea how old the author is. Yet, I feel like I definitely heard the author’s unique voice when Vivian spoke. Vivian spoke of a woman of her age. The love scene alone vindicates a unique writing style. The specifics in the story made it tangible and believable, such as the footprints in the snow. The details added to the quality and made for a concrete plot. The piece written about the sword was another example of a creative writing style, especially near the end. Very dramatic!

The pace consistently flowed at a moderate speed thanks to the combination of mood and emotional provoking plot threads. As these elements were implemented throughout in the dialogue, setting and action, it made the suspense/mystery riveting. I was on the edge of my seat wondering where this point was going to go. With several suspects and narrative twists I found this story unpredictable.

Whenever my father would eat something that he really liked he’d say, “You know what this taste like?” I’d say “What?” and he’d say “It tastes like MORE”. He’d say “more” all drawn out while laughing. I fell for it every time.

This book was like that joke. I wanted more. It had an abrupt ending without an epilogue. I’m sitting here still in a state of surprise. I point this out for the future reader to brace themselves for the unexpected brusque ending. With that being said it’s important to point out that there are no loose threads or a cliff hanger. I wanted to rave that this was the best book ever but I can’t with that unanticipated ending. I flipped the pages looking for more. I needed more assurance. I was not left with a confident happily ever after. It was there but not rock solid like the rest of the book.

In conclusion, I’d recommend this book but I’d tell my friends that they’ll have to add their own addendum to the ending. However, if you like a wham, bam, thank you mam swift kind of ending then there’s a strong chance you’ll absolutely LOVE this book. It definitely was an entertaining read.