Saturday, April 4, 2009
One Reckess Summer, by Toni Blake
I've always been a fan of summer and its seemingly endless potential for romantic possibilities. When I was younger, those possibilities were my own. Things change, evolving as they should, and now I find my promise of a summer fling within the pages of sizzling contemporary romance novels.
And yes, just in time, I've found the perfect 2009 romantic beach read.
Apparently the first in a series of novels set in the same locale, Toni Blake's One Reckless Summer takes us to Destiny, Ohio. There we meet Jenny Tolliver, a middle school science teacher with a love of astronomy. At thirty-one, she's back in her hometown to recover from a serious blow to her self confidence - her "rat bastard" of a husband left her for a twenty-one year old - and coming home to Destiny seems like the perfect way to heal. Her mother, who died eighteen years before, was a pillar of the small community and her father is still chief of police. Safely ensconced in the small house by the lake where she grew up, Jenny hopes to spend the summer figuring out a few things, in particular what to do with the rest of her life.
Mick Brody, on the other hand, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks - or in this case, the wrong side of Blue Valley Lake. With abusive parents and a law-breaking brother, Mick was always considered a bad seed by the town's upstanding citizenry. But several years filled with exceedingly stupid life choices - and a lengthy prison sentence for his brother - leads Mick to reconsider his own dismal future. He decides to take a different path by settling down to a relatively normal life as a bricklayer in Cincinnati.
Not long after arriving back in Destiny, Jenny, already looking for a distraction, decides to check out the night stars from the other side of the lake. After all, the Brody land has been abandoned for years, what with one brother in jail and Mick, the hunky younger brother, living who knows where. But when Jenny runs into Mick on a secluded path in the woods behind his family's cabin, one thing leads to another, and, in one of my favorite seduction scenes ever (yes, ever!), these two get reacquainted in a hurry.
But Mick has a secret, and despite what passes between them, he's not going to spill it and demands that she leave and never come back. "Good girl" Jenny, who should be horrified by what she let happen - isn't. Curious about him and eager for more of how he makes her feel, she returns to his side of the lake and discovers the reason for all of the cloak and dagger. While it may be illegal, it's not what she expects and we see a side of Mick that endears him further to Jenny - and to us as well.
Toni Blake's latest is well-written, fast paced and puts the reader smack in the middle of a long, hot Destiny summer. And speaking of heat, there's plenty of it, making me think that the best place to read this 350+ page lustful wonder is right in front of the air conditioner.
One Reckless Summer is a bookshelf must. I was lucky to get my hands on an advance copy; the official publication date is set for May 26, 2009. Mark your calendars. In any season, this is one you definitely don't want to miss.