Monday, November 3, 2008

Silhouette Now -- A Small Town Mayor Meets a Bad Boy from Her Past

The Guardian
By Linda Winstead Jones

Sara Vance, the 35 year old mayor of the little Southern town of Tillman, is the victim of a rather unusual crime: someone stole her undies. Right out of her backyard. She’s a little unnerved, so she reports the crime to the sheriff. She’s positively flustered when the newly hired officer sent to interview her about the crime is none other than Dante Mangino, with whom she had a brief, passionate (if rather innocent) fling at the age of seventeen. Nothing like standing around talking about your underwear with the man who made your heart race half a lifetime ago, especially since he doesn’t seem to remember you. Sara decides she just wants to forget the whole thing, but Dante isn’t convinced. He thinks she may have a stalker, and when an anonymous package full of sexy new underwear shows up at Sara’s door, he’s sure of it. He then becomes a one man surveillance team, keeping an eye on Her Honor the Mayor whenever he can. All in the line of duty? Not quite. It seems Dante does remember Sara, though since she has been married and widowed the name threw him at first. He also remembers that he was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and her family made it clear she was much too good for him. He left town, she stayed, and both buried the memory of their incredible connection. Until now.

Sara and Dante can’t just pick up where they left off; they’ve both picked up some emotional baggage. Sara’s husband died young of cancer, and a woman Dante was in love with was killed. Sara is all about being responsible and staying put; Dante likes to live life to the fullest and keep moving. They’ve got quite a bit to overcome, and the relationship must form in spite of a stalker who may well be a killer. In spite of the fact that both have been through the wringer emotionally, they do manage to keep moving forward, if sometimes in fits and starts. The happy ending is a little “O. Henry” but given the stress of dealing with a murderous stalker, neither character does anything really farfetched.

Overall, this is a well paced story with a strong suspense element, featuring two believable characters. Falling in love as a grown up is tougher than falling in love as a recent college grad, but Sara and Dante manage it fairly gracefully. Both have to factor in their history, their families, and their careers in a way that they just would not have in a book written twenty years ago. Heroes and heroines grow up, and I guess category romances do too.

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