Author: JM Stewart
Publication: Crimson Romance (January 28, 2013)
Description: Cat Edwards has spent her life playing the wallflower in an effort to escape the repressive weight of her mother’s tarnished name. Dragged to a bar by her best friend in an effort to forget a broken heart, the shy bookworm is determined to be someone else for the night, but quickly gets in over her head. She discovers chivalry isn't dead after all when a mysterious stranger comes to her rescue. He’s wearing black leather and a mischievous smile that promises to be exactly what she needs.
When his terminally ill father suffers a setback, Michael Brant returns to the town he swore ten years ago he’d never return to. He’s come home this time determined to make peace with the past that haunts him, but being home brings up memories he doesn't want to remember anymore. His first night in town, he’s captured by a damsel in distress. Cat’s beauty is made all the more alluring when he realizes she has no idea who he is. He can’t resist spending a single night in her arms. With her, he’s only a man, disconnected from his family’s name and the past that haunts him here.
As the town erupts with the news of his return, Michael’s dark past comes back to haunt him, putting Cat danger. Someone is threatening her life and the life of her family. Desperate to keep history from repeating itself, Michael offers her his family’s name in order to keep her safe. When the lie spirals beyond their control, can they stop their hearts from becoming entangled as well?
My Thoughts: This was a short, sweet contemporary romance with just enough danger to add a little excitement. Michael Brant returns to his home town to try to reconcile with his critically ill father. He had left many years before because of a scandal that left him heart-broken and feeling guilty. Cat Edwards had come home to the same town because she was tired of running.
Both characters had troubled pasts. Cat was trying to live down her mother's reputation which sent them fleeing when Cat was young. Her mother had affairs and was very selfish. She had sent Cat back to her father when she was seventeen and then disappeared. Cat's reputation was colored by that of her mother's. To compensate, Cat tried to be invisible.
They meet when Michael rescues Cat from an over-enthusiastic drunk. Her best friend had convinced her that she should let loose to get over the humiliation supplied by her cheating boyfriend. Cat doesn't know Michael or know about his past troubles. She accepts him as he is which is unique for the rich son of one of the town's founders.
They have a number of conflicts to overcome. Both are suffering from misplaced guilt. They want different lifestyles in that she is home and he can't wait to leave. They are thrown together when someone starts making threatening phone calls to Cat. The caller also attacks Cat's roommate and trashes her father's bookstore.
Michael suggests a fake engagement so that he can protect her. It isn't long before both of them want the engagement to be real and want to find a way to compromise so that the other can fit into their life.
This was an engaging romance that would be just right to read at the beach while sipping a tall, fruity drink. Don't think about it too closely though. I didn't think the villain made much sense.
Cat had him pondering his future for the first time in his adult years. Had him imagining the possibility he could actually have one. He's built a life for himself outside of this town, outside of his family's name. He had no desire to break her heart when he left. The pull to be with her called to him all the same. Could he compromise his life's direction for her?
I bought this one as a Kindle Daily Deal. You can buy your copy here.