Justin Archer is a Texas Ranger through and through, a loyal man devoted to the dangerous job he loves. But when the grisly discovery of a skeleton in a local vineyard turns an old missing-persons case into a vicious homicide, Justin finds that the toughest challenge of his professional career will be keeping his hands off his chief suspect: the dead man’s beautiful, young trophy wife. Did Lori Roberts kill for vast material gain? The only thing Justin knows for sure is that their chemistry is instantaneous—and overpowering.
Lori worked hard to build a new life for herself and her daughter. She turned her husband’s struggling vineyard into a thriving enterprise, and now she stands to lose it all over something that happened eight years ago. Justin could lock her up and throw away the key, but Lori desperately wants to trust him. More than that, she wants to let him into her wounded heart. Because Lori’s been running from the past for a long time . . . and she’s ready to start living for the future.
What would it take for the hero Texas Ranger to risk his career and future as a ranger? The right woman. And the chemistry between Lori and Justin is sizzling. They have a connection that is palpable, and the pull is strong enough for Justin to break his famous self-discipline, and act on the attraction.
The murder case is peculiar. There's very little to point out that Lori would be the killer, but there's enough to get her arrested. The clues are few and far in between, yet they manage to build a case, that will satisfy everyone involved. The tempo in the suspense part wasn't even or smooth, at times there was a great concentration on details, at others the information was just scampered through. The solution was wrapped up fast, and most details left to be assumed by the reader.
The romance happens on insta-style, but Justin gets an inside track to Lori's world when he has a chance, with a permission, to read her journals while investigating the case. That window opens up his eyes to see Lori's true personality, the troubles, and loss she had to endure with her husband, the joy of being a mother, and the strength she had to have to build the life and business she now has. I loved that part of the story, it was touching.
The biggest 'problem' I had with the story was the personal political views the author took the time to share with her readers. The first time it happened, I was annoyed, but later thought maybe it was okay with the plot, maybe it was sort of justified. But when it was repeated, with very one-sided information and obvious opinion, that reflects on one particular political party's views, I nearly didn't finish the story, and it was towards the end of it. I have said this before, and I will say it every time I see this happen, please, don't use this platform to share your political opinion, I, as a reader, don't care about it. Especially now when politics are coming at us from every media forum, romance novels are not the place they should be in.
The author managed to hit my other pet peeve as well: unprotected sex while writing a detailed sex scenes without any consequences.
Clear of those two issues, I enjoyed the story. The fondness and bond between the brothers were delightful, their respect and care for the Grammy adorable, the humor had me smiling, the banter chuckling, the murder mystery was intriguing, the danger and fear actual and sincere. The romance had a true sweetness to it even though zest with passion and Justin and Lori's daughter seemed to be instant allies. A very entertaining story, a quick summer read in a sun
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me