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Reckless Surrender by Rochelle Alers
(Genesis/Indigo, $8.95, PG) ISBN 1-58571-053-9
****
TRR readers know that although, I like the exploits of the rough-and-tumble Hideaway cast, I enjoy Rochelle Alers’ novellas. There is a special spot on my Keeper’s Shelf for the author’s category-type romances Summer Magic, Home Sweet Home and Reckless Surrender. Genesis Press has just reissued Reckless Surrender, Alers’ 1997 novel, with a new cover.

Reckless Surrender is the story of Cleveland Whitney and Rina Matthews.

Cleveland Graham Whitney is Savannah’s district attorney, who is rumored to be considering a run for mayor . Cleveland is also “brilliant, arrogant, wealthy, and one of Savannah’s most sought-after bachelors.” He and Rina Matthews meet at Whitney Hall, his family’s summer retreat near Sapelo Island. Rina’s Atlanta-based business management and accounting firm has been hired by the family matriarch Abigail Whitney. She will spend the summer at the home working on Mrs. Whitney’s personal holdings.

Cleveland has determined it will not be a summer idyll for Rina. He has had a brief run in with Jason Harper, Rina’s business partner and fiancé. As a result, Cleveland is skeptical about the firm’s abilities and is openly antagonistic toward Rina. The prosecutor has put Rina on notice that he will be watching her very, very closely. Cleveland apparently likes what he sees because it is not long before he is smitten with Rina.

However, Rina is guarded about her attraction to Cleveland. His mother is a client and, for all intents and purposes, she is engaged. As they spend time together, Cleveland is convinced that Rina’s fiancé will make a faux pas that would allow him to openly pursue a relationship with Rina.

Reckless Surrender is set in an area of the country I know very well. As Rina makes the drive from Atlanta to Savannah, pausing in Macon for breakfast, I can see the landscape in my mind’s eye. From Alers’ descriptions, I can almost see the Greek revival façade of Whitney Hall, feel the sweltering Savannah heat and hear the ocean’s roar. Stories about the traditional Black and White Ball and its history were intriguing.

The chemistry between Rina and Whitney is believable. The author slowly builds upon the attraction until it simmers to a low boil. Secondary characters are very well defined and add support and information to the main plot line. These are characters I enjoyed spending time with. Attentive Alers’ fans will catch a glimpse of Matthew Sterling in is pre-Hideaway series days. Matt Sterling commands attention even as a walk-on character!

Enjoyment of one of my favorite stories was somewhat marred by numerous production errors. There are several instances of typographical errors, repeated lines, words that run together.

Reckless Surrender is early Rochelle Alers. For readers new to the author’s work, the novel provides an interesting look at how her work has developed in the last four years. Her character-driven romances have only gotten better. Rochelle Alers’ fans will welcome an opportunity to get their hands on a novel that has been out of print. It’s worth a look.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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