Night Music

A Season of Love by BJ James
(Silh. Desire #1335, $3.99, PG-13) 0-373-76335-2
A Season of Love, BJ Jamesí second book in her "Men of Belle Terre" series, made me feel like I was observing the action from a distance rather than close up. It has a detached feeling to it.

Maria Elena Delacroix has returned to Belle Terre, her hometown, as a newscaster covering a local gala. Sheriff Jericho Rivers has not seen her since she left eighteen years ago. In her youth, she was looked down upon by some of the old guard because she is a descendant of the Delacroix courtesans who lived in a less respectable part of town. Jericho Rivers became her friend and protector when they were both young. They fell in love and secretly married when she became pregnant.

One evening shortly after they married, Maria Elena was attacked and nearly raped by a group of men wearing masks. She ripped the mask off one of them, but she has never remembered the face of the man. As a result of the attack, she lost her baby and fled the town leaving Jericho without a word.

Jericho approaches her at the gala and they spend the night together even though she says she is leaving in the morning. Before she can do that, her rental car explodes. Both Maria Elena and Jericho believe the explosion was caused by someone involved in her attach years ago. She decides to stay and discover the truth.

Jericho is a protective kind of man, but a little too saintly to be believed. He has remained in love with Maria Elena for all the years she has been gone (which is wonderful), but he shows very little anger about the way she left and the fact that she has not contacted him in all those years. He doesn't even really question her about why she took so long to come back. His reactions did not seem realistic.

Details a reader needs to piece together the history of the couple are told in a painfully slow manner. I could not see any reason for that other than to lengthen the book. It also added to the distant feeling of the story.

Anyone who read the first book of the series will find new developments in Adams and Eden Cade's life, the couple from that book. The season referred to in the title is Christmas, but there is so little reference to the holiday that it doesn't affect the story much. This would not be a book I would want to read again.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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