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Susan Mallery

Kiss Me

All of us make life-changing mistakes, mistakes that impact others in our life and the way we view ourselves. As a young man, Zane Nicholson made one such mistake and it has colored the way he views his young-half-brother Chase’s antics. When Zane discovers that Chase not only advertised a non-existent cattle drive, but he also collected money-- which he promptly lost day-trading using an illegal insider trading tip -- Zane is at his wit’s end and feels the only solution is to make Chase work the cattle-drive, something his computer-geek brother will abhor. Impulsive and repentant, Chase is horrified that he let his brother down again, but he wishes that his brother would see him for who he really is, rather than the person he wants him to become. But Chase and Zane are not the only ones dealing with issues of perception; Phoebe Kitzke, Zane’s step-sister’s best friend, seems unable to stand-up for herself, always putting others first. Thad and C.J. Swanson are just filling in for another foster family, taking their two charges on a promised vacation. Thad thinks it is a great adventure, but C.J. resents spending time with these hooligans—they are not the babies she has always dreamed of. However all of the participants---greenhorns and experts alike -- discover that with each new experience their beliefs and attitudes are challenged. As they progress from one hijinks and challenge to another, each realize the only one holding them back from real happiness is themselves. And isn’t that always the case? Although the story is told lightheartedly, there are real truisms hidden within – like absolving ourselves of past mistakes, or realizing that our needs and desires are just as important as others, and finally that our heart’s desire is right within reach if we only let go of inflexible qualifications. Ms. Mallery’s unique blend of storytelling infuses this story with laughter and enjoyment. In her hands, this journey is pure entertainment. Zane and Phoebe’s romance is front and center, but each of the participants have a lesson to learn. From start to finish this is heartwarming tale of love changing lives.

Leigh
Club Reader
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Ever After

The final book in Jude Deveraux’s Nantucket Brides Trilogy is a heartwarming and enchanting way to end the series where a young physical therapist gets her very own Cinderella story. Her prince charming: a scarred and injured man she must treat, despite the secret of what brought him to Nantucket to recover in the first place. Hallie Hartley has had it rough in life. Her parents and stepmother have passed away, leaving Hallie to care for her selfish stepsister for most of her life. It’s impossible not to feel for her and the way everyone else’s needs seem to take precedence over her own. The very nature of Hallie’s job requires her to help others, but she truly shines and comes into her own when she’s able to focus on herself, away from her sister and on the blissful island of Nantucket. Jamie Taggert, on the other hand, is struggling with his recovery, exiling himself to Nantucket to prevent any more pitying looks and whispers from his family. Jamie is the beast to Hallie’s beauty. Plagued with nightmares and keeping most of his body covered in thick sweatsuits, Jamie refers to himself as half a man. Though when awake, he keeps Hallie’s curiosity at bay with adorable flirtation. At night, however, Hallie is scrambling to quiet Jamie’s night terrors. His cure is Hallie’s presence, his body calming at her touch and her kisses. Jamie remembers none of it in the morning and Hallie makes certain she’s out of his bed before he wakes. A bulk of the action occurs without the other one knowing. Conversations with family members, delightful moments while Jamie is half-asleep, and a pair of matchmaking ghosts, who playfully put the Hallie and Jamie in precarious situations, all combine to turn the reader into personal cheerleaders for the couple’s success. Though a contemporary romance, Ever After isn’t without a touch of magic. Hallie’s home on Nantucket is rich with history. The house’s previous tenants were a pair of beloved women who were beautiful and frequently sought after by the island’s suitors. Rumor has it that if one is able to see the ghosts, they have yet to meet their true love. While the fantastical element adds an aspect of the unexpected to Hallie and Jamie’s love story, at times it’s hard to tell whether the ghosts are helping or hindering. The plot moves quickly, aided by a large cast of characters from Nantucket’s inhabits to Jamie’s very extensive family, who are all in town for not one, but two weddings. Readers who are familiar with the other two books in the trilogy may have an easier time keeping the names and relations straight. However, everyone in Jamie’s family, particularly the men, is charismatic with their own distinct personalities that it’s impossible not to hope Deveraux will let them have their own happy endings. With a rich setting and a romance that blossoms patiently and earnestly, Ever After is a sweet, satisfying finish to the Nantucket Brides Trilogy.

Amanda
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Heather Graham
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Kat Martin
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Fern Michaels
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Johanna Lindsey
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Annie Barrows
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Elin Hilderbrand
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Fern Michaels
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Debbie Howells
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Mariah Stewart
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Carla Norton
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