20 min to read (ten extra than needed because I kept scratching my eyes and sniffing from the apples bit on), double that and the kettle on the stove to calm down.
I have too many mixed feelings about this, whether it should be so, how I feel about the boy, that end, whether it's enough, whether it's ok, and a million other things that I can't even believed were digged up by an itty-bitty book. I just know that it played hell on my emotions and I'm still blubbering.
I also know I might have put it under a taste's-like-diabetes tag if I'd read it on a cynical mood. That I might have been angry or ambivalent. It's weird. I have more words skittering around my brain than those written inside those pages. I have to toast a book that causes such an internal havoc.
We're back at the Campbell Cove Academy for this Paula Graves Intrigue, and, once again she delivers action and a great heroine in Charlie (Charlotte) Winters, a woman from a poor family who got mixed up with a girl from a wealthy one. She feels someone is watching her and she may be in danger, so she signs up for self-defence classes at the Academy, where her instructor is Mike. Here's the blurb:
A cold case is reopened, placing a witness in the crosshairs—and a bodyguard by her side…
Charlie Winters has caught security expert Mike Strong's attention. A member of his self-defence class, she seems to need to know more than just how to protect herself. After a little digging, Mike discovers that the cute redhead has a reason to worry—she may have witnessed a murder. Using all of his connections, Mike tries to solve the cold case. But as Charlie's memories from the past begin to resurface, her future seems marked for death. Offering up his skills as a bodyguard, Mike promises not to leave her side. And Charlie's obvious relief at not having to fight alone convinces him there's much more to this mystery he has yet to uncover.
Charlie is really the core of the book. Mike is OK, but he's not the mega alpha maie that's often found in Intrigues. Nor is he someone who's damaged in some way, so there's none of that "two damaged people find and heal each other" business going on.
As usual in Paula Graves' Intrigues, there's a definite undercurrent of class politics involved, and that suits me fine.
And no bonking! Wonder of wonders! But there's a mutual attraction that's given a chance to grow during the course of the book.
Damned tearjerker. To paraphrase Bobby's mom "life is unfair". And boy, do I have mixed feelings about her character. Most of my screaming-at-the-page moments came thanks to her. Anyway, the first story ripped my heart out, and I loved it.
The second was a mix. Kinda' like the characters, their age and the era. Jumbled and confused, almost angels and petty devils. Liked it. Not as much as the first.
The third was the puzzler. Interesting bridge, but wtf. Also, he has a good life, life isn't fair. Maybe.
The fourth took time to hit it's stride, but really got to me on the last two to five pages. Had my waterworks well primed and going. Ready for the last story.
The fifth was the coda. Full circle. And maybe life is unfair, but sometimes is kinder than we expect.