Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Sent
Locke Jackman is single, childless…and he has a bad case of empty nest syndrome. For years, as he fought tooth and nail to keep his brothers and sisters together after his parents died, his entire life was focused on his responsibilities.
Now his siblings have all moved on with their lives, and there’s no one around to distract him from his overpowering attraction to his sister’s best friend. Their mutual desire is stunning…but then again, so are the secrets keeping them apart.
Susie Packard’s nightmarish marriage taught her what happens when she gives in to her weakness for powerful men. Too bad the big, stoic frowner across the street—the one who sets her bells jangling just by breathing—has her in his sights.
Try as she might to keep her emotional distance, Locke is determinedly knocking down all her walls. But as much as she wants to be the woman he needs, she knows better than most— passion may have its rewards, but every secret has its price.
This was my first book by Dee Tenorio and I was very pleasantly surprised. Locke Jackman, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…. Seriously, Locke is what romance heroes should be. He is big and strong, sexy and fun, caring and honest, protective and responsible. He is a born and raised family man, having taken over the care of his siblings after their parents died. You read this kind of story a lot, and usually the guy is ready to sow his wild oats after years of responsibility, or he’s a weak doormat who doesn’t want to go looking for something new. Locke is neither of those. Rancho Del Cielo is his home. His siblings are there, his business is there, his home is here, and he has no complaints about any of those. He is a man satisfied with his lot in life, until he starts experiencing a bit of empty nest syndrome. The big home he shared with his family is suddenly very quiet and he begins to spend more and more time at work to avoid the silence.
It is there that he first sees Susie Packard. A beautiful statuesque woman getting out of her car across from his store is sure to catch his eye, especially in a town where he knows everyone (except her!). Something about her calls to Locke immediately, but instinctively he knows he has to tread carefully. Susie has troubled past written all over her, and she is cautious to the extreme. She befriends his sister Amanda and hires her to work in her lingerie shop, which is how Susie is introduced to the Jackman clan. Susie has secrets – big secrets – and her past is only part of it. Locke doesn’t know all that she’s hiding, and frankly he doesn’t care. He likes her, he wants her, and he genuinely cares about her, so he is willing to be patient.
Susie knows that Locke wants her. She is friendly with him and keeps things casual, but she sometimes can feel his eyes on her, burning her with the intensity of his attraction. She keeps him at arm’s length for two long years, until it reaches the point where neither of them can deny their chemistry. After one wild & sexy hookup that she never intended to let happen, her life becomes tied to Locke’s in very important ways. Unfortunately for Susie, circumstances force her to reveal her secrets way before she is ready. Her old life, which was no good for her (understatement) is catching up to her and threatening not only her, but her new life with Locke. She is determined to learn from her past, though, and not let any other man take over her life. Love is an illusion she can’t afford to give in to.
Locke is the epitome of steadfast and patient, and eventually that wears Susie down. No matter what life throws at him, he takes it on his strong shoulders and deals with it, and Susie’s problems are no different. It was not hard to understand why Susie would fall for Locke – he represented constant support, family, strength, all in a sexy package. I found it a little more difficult to see her appeal – it seemed to me that Locke gave way more than he got in their relationship, but somehow the whole thing just worked.
I didn’t realize that this book was part of a series. I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely go back to read the previous ones. I thought the storyline was good, the main characters were drawn out very well, and the writing style kept me interested without skipping over anything or having to go back to re-read parts. It wasn’t quite as “erotic” as I expected a book published by Samhain to be, but that didn’t detract from the story at all. If you like damsel in distress stories featuring a strong, understanding, romantic hero, this book is for you!
I give Trust in Me 4.5 by Dee Tenorio stars!