Saturday, January 14, 2012

He's Her Knight With A Hammer & Saw: "Tool Belt Defender" by Carla Cassidy

It's Party Time...

That’s the “invitation” shoved under her door. It’s got Brittany Grayson fearing for her life…and her sanity. She’s sure the monster who once held her captive for months is dead, so why his chilling words in the note? His menacing face in the window? And why won’t anyone —even her lawmen brothers—believe that somehow he’s after her again?

Brittany just wants a normal, independent life in Black Rock. Romance is out of the question… although she’s okay as friends-with-benefits with Alex Crawford, her hunky, marriage-phobic contractor. Alex, a single dad, has his own good reasons not to fall for Brittany. But none of them matter when the race is on to find the killer who’s kidnapped her.

This is the fifth book in the "Lawmen of Black Rock" series but it is the first of the novels that I have read. I have also not read any works by this author before but I have to start out by saying that I really enjoyed this book. It was not a difficult or complicated novel, but there was certainly enough going on that it wasn't simplistic. The five Grayson siblings are featured in each of the five novels, and this final book in the series highlights the experiences of Brittany Grayson, a sheriff's deputy in the community of Black Rock, Kansas, and a woman who was kidnapped, imprisoned and terrorized for four months by a psycho serial killer who styled himself as "The Professional." Now the killer is dead and Brittany is seeking to live again: moving back to her own home, planning for the future, thinking through her professional options, and even moving forward with her plan to build a large deck in back of her home so that she can participate in the family traditions of backyard barbecues and gatherings.

This is where Alex comes in--tall, good-looking, strong, and wearing that tool belt low on his hips. Yummmmm! And it is Alex at her front door who begins to awaken that sense of being human again, for the first time in eight months. According to the description of our hero in this book, one would have to be really dead not to have a reaction to hunky Tool Belt Man. Brittany also has an opportunity to meet and become friends with Alex's six-year-old daughter Emily, a little girl who is brilliant and mature beyond her years, but who still possesses the winsome aura of innocence and whose presence forms the heart of Alex. Throughout the book the scenes with Emily as she interacts with Alex and Brittany are some of the nicest parts of the story. And there is no doubt that as Alex and Brittany begin their friendship and as it quickly deepens into a physical affair, there is deep respect and genuine kindness in both these people.

Ms Cassidy has written a book that is fun to read yet has threads of tension running throughout--the tension over the re-appearance of "The Professional," the sexual tension that escalates between Alex and Brittany, and the tension within Brittany herself as she deals with her PTSD, her sense of not being safe, and her worries over her future. A very positive aspect of the book is the continuing presence of Brittany's brothers, their continuing care of her, the support of friends and community that Brittany re-discovers during her recovery, and the feeling that there is a far greater extended family surrounding her than she first believes.

This is the kind of novel that makes for good reading without a large time commitment but one that is appealing in its subject matter as well as one that keeps the reader's interest throughout. It is a very good story and one that is well-worth the time and effort to enjoy. I give it a rating of 4 0ut of 5.

This novel was released by Harlequin under their Romantic Suspense imprint in December, 2011.

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