|Geralyn Dawson has carved a name for herself as the writer of light-
hearted historicals set in late nineteenth-century Texas. With Give
Him the Slip, she kicks off a series about three brothers, distantly related to her McBride Menaces, and tries her hand at romantic suspense. She doesn’t pull off the suspense part, but her signature style and her light-hearted humor work well in a contemporary setting.
Maddie Kincaid has a history of making bad choices about men. She’s
even done some time in prison because of one of her more unpalatable
associations. She had hoped all that was behind her when she moved to
Brazos Bend to run a business providing care for the elderly. But
even such an innocuous occupation can’t keep trouble away from
someone with Maddie’s past. When one of her patients asks for her
help cleaning out his house, she suddenly finds herself in possession
of far too many hallucinogenic mushrooms. And when her patient dies
unexpectedly, she can’t help but think there is something fishy going
on in the small Texas town. Because Maddie suspects that the police
may also be involved, she follows the advice of another client and
heads for a DEA agent. Instead she meets Luke “Sin” Callahan.
Luke is taking some time off from his work as an undercover agent. He
believes he is responsible for the death of his friend and partner.
This doesn’t make him any more prepared to believe Maddie’s story and
especially not when he learns his own father sent her his way. He and
his brothers blame their father for the death of their younger
brother. They have cut off all contact with him and doggedly avoid
any attempts to lure them back to the family fold: sending a damsel
in distress with a loopy story would be right up Callahan Senior’s
Nevertheless, Luke’s bad-boy lustful instincts as well as to his
inner knight in shining armor ultimately override his distrust. So
despite all his vows, he accompanies Maddie back to Brazos Bend.
There, he depends on the much exaggerated rumors of his youthful bad-
boy ways to hook up with the local underworld. Needless to say, both
a rapprochement with his father and a lot of close contact with
Maddie are also in store.
While there are a number of plot twists that aim at keeping the
reader guessing, none of them are truly unexpected. On the contrary,
some of the developments may have true suspense aficionados gritting
their teeth. What, for instance, is the likelihood Brazos Bend town
folks can’t find out what the three Callahan brothers have been up to
over the years? Even a fifth-grader knows about internet searches!
The mystery may not be all that riveting, but the characters are
quite engaging. Maddie has a rather outlandish back story, but she is
a touching and compelling combination of insecurities and
determination, sexy postures and tough attitudes. Luke is roguish
charmer with his own vulnerabilities. Even though we’ve seen these
types often enough, Dawson does a very convincing job with both of them.
This is less the case with some of the secondary characters. Luke’s
brothers, who will feature in their own stories, are quite delectable
and especially so for readers who like sexy law enforcement types
with a strong streak of humor. On the other hand, some of the town
people border on annoyingly caricatural. If you can overlook such
flaws and concentrate on the romantic relationship, you will be in
for a pleasurable read.