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LynneC’s review of Straddling the Line by Sarah M. Anderson
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Desire 1 May 13

A Christmas present to me, since I read this over the Christmas season. I really enjoyed this one. It is different in that the motivations are understandable and seem intrinsic to the story, something that’s very hard to achieve in the category lines. The heroine is her own person without being stupid, the hero is strong without being a jerk. Lovely.

Ben Bolton is CFO of the Crazy Horse bespoke motorcycle business. The business is just getting by, despite the expensive offices and his father and his brother Billy are constantly coming to blows. Literally. His brother Bobby is the PA guy, schmoozing and courting the rich and famous. Ben is tired of his business and tired of battling his father and brother. Also tired of being taken for granted. His father doesn’t appreciate him. Ben and his brothers are independently wealthy due to some trust fund thing, and this was the one note that didn’t feel real to me. It doesn’t work because why not walk away and start something else? Or why not use the money to fund the business? It seems like it is just fulfilling the requirements of the Desire line, the billionaire hero trope and nothing else.

Josey White Plume is half Lakota and is trying very hard to fit in with Lakota life. She never really found fulfilment outside the tribe, and now she wants to come home. But she doesn’t look quite right and her mother is never accepted. I feel angry for Josey, because racism is racism, whatever side of the equation it comes from, and it seems that her tribe doesn’t accept her because of that. Even though she is doing her best. They don’t deserve her.

Life on the reservation and life with choppers is well-described and either well-researched or the author has personal experience. The details really helped to bring the story alive. It’s completely unknown to me so I read on with fascination.

There’s an instant attraction which Josey and Ben do their best to resist, for their own reasons, but Ben decides to help Josey get the school on the rez established. When he visits and attends a pow-wow, he enjoys himself and lets his skill on the drums go free, but they call him a “white devil” and while they’re indulgent, which, considering the help he’s giving them, is big of them, Ben recognises their antagonism.

I think the less-than-perfect behaviour of the native Americans is a strength in the story because it brings the two lovers together. Both are trying to find a happy medium, straddle a line, Josey with her people and Ben with his, and both know it’s not going to be easy.

I like that, too. That lack of simple answers. There is no walking into the sunset with fairy-dust, but the story is essentially about Josey and Ben, and the concentration is on them. I enjoyed that. The story flows well and introduces the other characters who feature in the other stories easily. They have parts to play in this story, so it doesn’t seem as much “sequel bait” as it does in similar books.

The characters are also individuals, and so I won’t forget them as easily as I do when I read a Desire sometimes. Like the heroes and heroines of many of Day Laclaire’s books, which I can still remember, I think these will remain with me for a while. Definitely recommend this one, and I’m going to hunt down the other Bolton books now.

LynneCs iconGrade: A


CFO Ben Bolton has enough on his plate running his family business. But when lovely Josey White Plume enters his office, his priorities shift. He refuses to let such a compelling woman walk away. The chase is on.

All her life, Josey has sought one thing: to fit in with her Lakota family. She has no time for some sexy rich guy’s pursuit. But she can’t stop thinking about Ben—wanting him…kissing him. Yet falling for a wealthy outsider will destroy everything she’s worked for—unless she can find a way to straddle the line between his world and hers.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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