Just Another Day in Paradise is the first in a new series for Justine Davis. While this offering is not as strong as many of Davisí earlier works (or those written as Justine Dare), it does have several good features.
Paige Cooper and her teenage son are now living in paradise. At least it would be paradise to most people, but not to a disgruntled kid. Paige has been a widow for the past five years and, in that time, her loving little boy as turned into an angry teen on the road to big trouble.
Paige jumped at the chance of a teaching job at Redstone, Inc.'s newest exclusive island resort away from the bad influences her son, Kyle, had begun to follow in Los Angeles. Kyle, however, hates being away from his friends, hates that his mother is his teacher, and hates that his dad is no longer alive.
Noah Rider is the point man for Redstone, Inc. One of his jobs is to visit new locations just before opening and make sure that everything is ready. He has been doing this job for several years. It has been difficult on relationships because he is on the road so much. He is a bit concerned about this particular resort because there is some political unrest on the islands. His first meeting with the staff is scheduled just after he arrives. He is quite surprised to see that Paige is a member of the staff. The last time he had seen her had not ended at all well.
Paige is shocked to see Noah. The last time she had seen him was in the aftermath of her husband's death. Phil Cooper had also worked for Redstone, Inc. He had been killed when the plane he was on exploded from a terrorist's bomb. Noah had been the person sent to help Paige handle the arrangements for the funeral. She had embarrassed herself by falling into a passionate embrace with Noah just days after Phil's death. Despite the fact that there were problems in her marriage, she had been appalled at her actions.
The first part of the story is filled with Paige and Noah trying to get over the guilt each feels over their passionate response to each other at an inappropriate time. While they apologize to each other early on and decide to get beyond that incident, neither does a very good job moving forward. Everything drags a bit during this part.
The rest of the story moves much more quickly. The political troubles move to the resort, trapping Noah and Paige in the schoolhouse with all of the local and employee school children and several terrorists. Paige seems a bit foolhardy, challenging the terrorists verbally at every turn, but it fits with her anger over her husband's death. I did like the twist Davis gives to Noah as a hero. He never claims to be a macho man, does not have a background in law enforcement, and does not try to take out the whole group by force. He keeps repeating to himself that he is just an ordinary man and works with what he knows. The result is a believable hero.
Davis does a good job presenting Kyle's struggle with his mother and the change in him as he gets to know Noah and as he helps with the younger children during the crisis. Lani, a local girl about Kyle's age but with a lot more maturity, is also a big influence on Kyle's progress.
While this is not one of the author's best, it has its moments. Some time was spent introducing a number of other characters who will probably have further adventures as part of Redstone, Inc. I hope the next offerings are more in line with Davis' previous works.
--B. Kathy Leitle