|Jackson’s Woman is the first book in Price’s new series, “Dates with Destiny.” Set in Oklahoma City, Claire is the first of the heroines is rebuilding her life after her date with destiny in the person of Jackson Castle.
Claire now owns and is putting all her efforts into the running of her newly acquired antique shop. The reader learns early that Claire had grown up “one step away from physical abuse” being hauled around in the back of a “hippy” van as her mother traveled from one love affair to the next. Often destitute, her mother finally left Claire her with her sister, and began to seriously drink herself to death.
Living in the apartment across from Claire and her aunt was Charlie, a man who gradually became her adoptive grandfather, and who had sold her the antique shop. Prior to the purchase, Claire had a life altering love affair with Jackson Castle, a Special Agent with the Diplomatic Security Service - the US State Department’s law-enforcement division. He had convinced her to travel with him from place to place as he worked his way around the globe.
Claire realized that Jackson’s passionate love for his work, and the peripatetic wandering it required would never resonate with her almost pathological need for roots, stability and even the little white picket fence. Regretfully, she turned down his marriage proposal and returned home to acquire the shop.
The story opens as Jackson Castle’s innocent twin brother is assassinated in a café in Spain in a terrorist bombing. The bombing deliberately targeted Castle’s twin as revenge. The story reveals that Jackson’s old mentor and partner Ryker had sold an operation out, and as a result of this, Jackson had told his employer’s about Ryker’s secret safe house. As all were searching for Ryker, the agents hit the safe house, killing Ryker’s wife and small child. Ryker is crazed enough to place the sole blame upon Jackson.
Jackson realizes that Ryker’s killing of his twin brother leaves only one other person Jackson had ever been close to and that was Claire. Intelligence reports had also identified her as Ryker’s next target.
Jackson comes to Oklahoma City to protect Claire, finding her as she stumbles upon an employee who has been killed. Soon the reader realizes that death is unrelated to the pending threat and the book ambles along as everyone awaits Ryker’s coming.
The characters are fairly well defined and the dialog competent. The inner dialogue is however another story as it is repetitive, repetitive. Claire’s angst in choosing between a man she is still in love with and her need for roots is relived on a constant basis. The subplot is thin at best and adds little to the over all story.
The ending is predictable and too contrived. This book is an average read falling far short of Price’s usual high standards, A new reader would do better to start with an earlier title.