Special thanks to Redd from the Wyld Hollow for my copy!
Mass Market Paperback, 218 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Harlequin
Twenty years ago, Lily Campbell's parents died in a mysterious fire. Now she's back for the truth...but nobody in her sleepy hometown wants to talk about that night. And when the fires start up again, it's clear that somebody doesn't want her to stay.
Griff Branchard has perfected his bad-boy persona. But the moment he sees Lily, nothing matters as much as getting close to her. Although rumors about her are flying around town, he just can't believe such a sweet woman could be a troublemaker...But trouble? She's deep in it. And he's going to make sure that the only heat she feels is from the flames of desire.
Griff Branchard is not a shy man. So when he's instantly smitten by Lily as she enters his small town ice cream shop, the subtle, yet smooth, flirting commences. Thankfully, Lily can read the signs and calls him on his game. Right before she warns him how unpopular any association with herself may be that is.
This story is set in Georgia. God help me. The author's instant description of the heat is dead-spanking-on and even though I'm not big on Georgia or small towns, I'm invested enough in this series that those small details didn't do a thing to influence my enjoyment one way or another.
The second book, Mesmerizing Stranger, didn't do it for me the way the first, Secretive Stranger, did. Oh yes, I loved the first book. This one, though, came darn close. In each installment, the fire that claimed the lives of their parents is a rich, recurring topic and now, finally, we'll be getting down to the nitty gritty of what happened that night. The rumor went that their father, after losing his job, set the fire to get the insurance money. The flames got out of control and only the three sisters (Cate, Lily, & Sophie) made it out. Notably, with help from their father.
By the end of the second chapter, I was in love. Griff has a secret. Sure, he allows for the lazy, womanizer rep that the town has bestowed upon him but he has a hobby that he considers his real work. He also has an 'implied capacity for commitment'. =)
By the middle of chapter five, my man, Cord, (Secretive Stranger) was getting some serious competition from this MIT graduate, Griff. I noticed a ton of similarities between the two, but what gave Griff the edge was that no matter how badly he wanted to prove to Lily that he could take care of her and that he was strong enough for the both of them, it was Lily that over and over again came to his aid. It was a beautiful balance. And I loved the play and interchange of roles. As far as the suspense is concerned, I honestly didn't care who the arsenist was and failed to attempt trying to figure it out. Too busy with the love. 4 out of 5 stars.
Other books in the series: