Courtship of Izzy McCree


The Sea Witch

Snowbound Cinderella

The Wildes of Wyoming: Ace

Awakening Alex by Ruth Langan
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1024, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-27124-7
Alexandra Sullivan, proprietor of the Snug Harbor Lodge, doesn’t usually take in guests in the off-season. But at her beloved grandfather’s request, she agrees to let Grant Malone stay, provided he knows he’ll be roughing it a bit. When Grant arrives, however, he’s not the elderly man she’d assumed. Instead, he’s a hunky, secretive guy who keeps to himself and seems to have a lot of pain behind his eyes.

Grant is equally disturbed by “Alex”, who is not at all what he expected. Why would a lovely young woman hide herself in the New Hampshire backwoods, albeit at a splendid retreat like the lodge? He came to find some peace and be able to do some soul-searching. For Captain Grant Malone of the New York City Police Department does indeed have a lot to contend with. A shooting incident has left him with an overwhelming sense of guilt and self-doubt. He’d hoped to fined some answers here in the woods. What he’s found is a woman who is becoming more captivating by the day.

Alex and Grant make an interesting couple. His emotional wariness and her reluctance to involve herself with a man who will eventually leave makes for a strong conflict. As they make their way toward each other, at first they try to delude themselves that it’s just a physical attraction. Things heat up, then explode, and both are shaken by the realization that it’s more, much more, than just an affair. Grant accepts Alex as she is, and finds her utterly desirable. Alex soothes Grant and makes him feel that, perhaps, there are some burdens he can lay down. The reader feels the pull between them and it feels right.

But all romances must have a Dark Moment to test the lovers, and here it came out of the blue and felt utterly false and forced, to the point where I found myself thinking “HUH?” The ensuing climax was predictable and nothing we haven’t read a hundred times before. Having built a lovely, and completely believable romance, it was disappointing to stumble across the same old external threat and neatly-tied-up solution that always pops up in romances featuring a cop. Well, pops up too often, anyway.

Awakening Alex is mostly a solid romance with endearingly vulnerable characters. If you enjoy cop heroes, the ending may not bother you. Ruth Langan is a stylish writer and her characters and dialogue ring true, and this book is worth a look.

--Cathy Sova

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