Her Husband’s Partner
by Jeanie London
(Harl. Super #1635, $5.50, PG)  ISBN 978-0373-71635-7
***
Her Husband’s Partner is a story that grows on you after a while and ultimately delivers a nice story of second-chance love. 

Riley Angelica is a widow with twins who are age five now and starting to understand what life is like without a father. Riley moved away from Poughkeepsie and their home just outside Pleasant Valley. But now, two years after Mike’s death, she is returning to allow the kids to have some normalcy and to be closer to Mike’s roots and his legacy. Meanwhile, Riley has memories to deal with and the sense that she needs to prove she can do this is strong. 

Helping her along the way is the entire police force that Mike was a large part of until a drug deal went wrong. His partner, Scott Emerson, has been a major friend to Riley. Scott and Mike were close and Scott had made a promise to Mike to look after his family. But Scott was always a little in love with Riley and tended to keep his distance when Mike was alive. Scott could never betray his trust and proved it by staying away. Once Mike died though, he and Riley started to develop a friendship over the phone. While Riley lived in Florida with her parents, Scott assisted her nephew in maintaining the family home and horses. 

Now the question is – what next?  Riley realizes she is starting to have feelings for Scott and he too is struggling with his reaction to her. When Riley’s job as a newspaper reporter has her tripping over a drug deal that includes some bad cops, she is at risk and needs protection. Scott is given the assignment, putting them in close proximity and in temptation’s way.

There is a lot of background in this tale that seems to be part of a series. There are relationships and a backstory about how Mike died that seemed to be missing at times. When Mike’s death is slowly tied into what is happening now, I wasn’t sure if the information was all new or if I had missed a lot not having read previous tales. Ultimately, it all fit together but trying to piece it together lessened my enjoyment of the story.

There are a lot of familiar things in this story including a large family, a lot of friends who show up to help and a small town feel that makes a community real. Riley was a good heroine in that she always had to do what was right and yet it felt like she had not really grieved for Mike. Her leap into this new romance didn’t feel right at first, but slowly grew on the reader. Scott was a good hero, although his angst about having loved Riley from afar seemed a bit forced at times. I mean, he never acted on his feelings and basically all he felt was jealousy and attraction. Why beat yourself up over it for this many years? 

The danger in the story was an added bonus and yet that too felt like there were pieces I was missing. There were well-written, tense scenes about the danger. But the why and the sense that there was more to it than I was getting was never really answered.

Overall Her Husband’s Partner was an enjoyable story with a good ending. It just didn’t have pizzazz or anything to set it above the rest.

--Shirley Lyons


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