Pushing the sensual limits can set off all kinds of alarms!
Inheriting her grandmother's home is a dream come true for web designer Maxcine Turner. She is looking forward to a little freedom from the constant demands of her beloved, crazy mob of a family. When vandals expose just how vulnerable she is living alone, she seeks help.
Ryan Claymore's well-thought-out-life was wrenched out from under him when responsibility for his special-needs half-brother landed on his shoulders. Going from military man to business man hasn't been easy. He counts himself lucky he has found Maxine to trade his security-system knowledge for her website expertise. The red-hot chemistry that sizzles between them comes from out of the blue, and they both fight a losing battle to resist. Even the secret Ryan hides isn't enough to keep Maxine from working her way into his heart--and his bed.
But something else might tear them apart--whoever seems determined to destroy her home, and her sanity along with it.
Vivian Arend is well-known for her varied and creative subject matter in her literary works but I have read mostly paranormal stories from her. Now we have a contemporary romance/mystery that brings an interesting cast of characters into the mix and makes for a tale that is neither simple or single-layered.
Suffice it to say that Maxine is awash with relatives. Her twin, called Junior, is protective and not very happy that she has decided to move out of his home into her own, much less into an old house that was given her by her grandmother. Actually, the house was given to the family, and no one else wanted it, neither did anyone seem interested in selling it and splitting the profits. Maxine was delighted since this was a house full of memories and family tradition and the last thing she wanted was to see it leave the care and keeping of someone in her family. The acts of vandalism started almost from the moment she decided to renovate and move in. Thankfully, the insurance paid for most of the damage, but the necessity of an alarm system was the reason she and Ryan came into contact initially.
Ryan is a man who has made his way in the world believing that his main career would be the military. Now, after being made aware of a half-brother he did not know existed until recently, he has left his military commission and begun using his communications expertise in a security systems business. He has also not really planned on any kind of long-term relationship. Yes, he has had women in his life, but none seemed to be for more than temporary companionship. Now, he is once again finding that Maxine has piqued his interest and having been without female companionship for quite some time, he begins to fantasize about her ending up in his intimate embrace. Little does he realize that he is entering into a mad and crazy family world that will puzzle and almost overwhelm him. On the other hand, he keeps the presence of his half-brother a secret even from Maxine. What will be her response? Will this cool her interest in him?
Both these people have considerable "speed bumps" in their emotional lives. Ryan is focused on caring for his half-brother--a teenager with the understanding and competency of a 6-year-old--and getting his business off the ground. Is there really time and room in his life for even so pleasant a diversion as Maxine? Maxine, on the other hand, is captive to the wishes and demands of various members of her family. Even having moved into her own home, she still hasn't managed to find the magic word "NO" when presented with projects of activities or additional responsibilities. Because she works at home, her relatives believe that she is always available. Will Ryan accept the demands they make on her, especially when they cut into the time she can spend with him?
This is another fine Arend story with only one flaw that I can see: it is just too short. All her stories are novellas or slightly longer, and I would love to see her sink her writer's teeth into a novel-length tale that will tax and stretch her writing and story-telling abilities. It is full of fun and witticism, sexy encounters and intensity, family interaction and caring, an authentic sense of responsibility while caring for the disabled. It is a story that is fun to read, but the mysterious acts of violence keep the reader perched on the edge of the seat. Not easy to weave these multiple characters, story-lines and all that goes with it into a finished literary tapestry. So I recommend this as a very good story and hope that not only Arend fans will enjoy it, but that it may be an additional joy to those who just love a really, really good love story. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.