REVIEW: Karma by Carly PhillipsWednesday, May 16, 2012 1:00
Can two people whose lives have centered on guilt find a way to move forward with their lives and find happiness together? The third book in Carly Phillips’ Serendipity series gives us the answer.
Dare Barrons’ entire life has been colored by a high school incident that left a classmate dead. When a fight broke out at a party, one of the guys fell hard on a concrete patio. Panic followed and a lot of kids, Dare included, fled the scene. Dare’s guilt over running away and remaining silent about what really happened had a huge influence over all his future choices – the foster home he went to after his parents were killed in a car crash and even his choice of careers. Now Dare is a police officer in his hometown and he still has regular run-ins with the person responsible for their classmate’s death all those years ago. The only small bright side is that Dare also gets to see the guy’s older sister when she comes to bail him out of jail. She was the only reason Dare went to the party to start with – he had a crush on her and hoped to see her.
Liza McKnight’s life has mostly centered around her brother. Her parents always thought he could do nothing wrong and she could do nothing right – they did everything they could to make her brother’s life easy. Now that her parents spend most of their time away from Serendipity, taking care of Brian has become her responsibility. He has a job at the family’s architectural firm but isn’t a diligent worker, by any means, and has a drinking problem that has him regularly in and out of jail. Liza knows he needs more help than she can give him, but he is an adult. He helped her once in college when she really needed it and it has always been beaten into her brain that she is supposed to take care of him.
Liza had noticed Dare when visiting the police station to bail out her brother – hot guy in a uniform?? Yes, indeed. But his open hostility to her brother and her general discomfort with the locals keeps her from being friendly. And Dare’s high school crush on Liza? Still crushing along, even though he thinks she is an enabler to her obviously troubled brother.
Really, Liza and Dare have a lot in common – both feel guilty about their parts in that high school party that went wrong, both had less than stellar childhoods. Just as they begin to explore a relationship, Brian gets into more trouble. There have been instances of missing money and mishandled accounts at Liza’s firm and Brian works in that department. When Brian goes missing and Liza’s brake line is cut, it seems his enemies are trying to get to him through her.
I appreciate the fact that Liza isn’t one of those too-stupid-to-live heroines we encounter sometimes. When she finds out she is in danger, she accepts all the protection offered from the police and from Dare’s family. She doesn’t go rushing off in a misguided attempt to save the day – and bless her for it. LOL
Can Liza accept that someone actually cares about her and won’t push her aside for something or someone more important? Can Dare let go of his guilt from the past and look toward the future without bitterness?
I enjoyed this book much more than the second in the series, although not quite as much as the first (I loves me some bad boy/good girl plots). This is a good, steady small-town romance and Ms. Phillips’ fans should be quite pleased to see all the Barrons brothers settled and happy.
Police Officer Dare Barron has had a crush on Liza McKnight ever since he was a teenager. But despite his lifelong attraction, the closest he’s ever come to interacting with her is watching Liza regularly bail out her brother at the station. Dare’s dark past with Liza’s brother, Brian, has always kept him from pursuing her. But suddenly Liza finds herself in need of protection and Dare appoints himself as the man for the job. And while the sizzling attraction between Dare and Liza draws them together, the past that Dare and Brian share threatens to keep the two apart forever.
Read an excerpt.