I would definitely advise you to read Temptation Bay, the first book in the series, before reading this one. The author does an outstanding job of laying out the back story, which has its origins in the prohibition when Windfall Island was used as a base for criminal activity related to supplying the Eastern seaboard with liquor. It appears that one night the islanders brought home more than liquor. This abandoned baby seemingly got adopted into one of the island’s families who were reeling from the grief of the babies they had lost to a measles epidemic, and her presence was hidden away in the memories of those few people who were part of the rescue and placement. Now almost two generations later, it turns out the baby was Eugenia Stanhope, heir to millions, and in order for her family fortune to be distributed amongst the living members of the Stanhope family, an investigator needs to prove beyond doubt that she perished or find her living heirs. With so much money at stake, there are greedy people who definitely don’t want any additional living heirs with whom they have to share their wealth. The author does a superb job of weaving her romantic story while keeping readers hooked on attempting to solve the mystery.
The clues seem to lead to Jessica Randal being Eugenia’s descendant. She’s lived a solitary life, being an exemplary parent to her now eight-year-old son and keeping her head high in the face of the townspeople’s scorn at having been an unwed teenage mother abandoned by her boyfriend Lance, who got her pregnant and fled from his responsibilities. As the clues unveil themselves, she’s frightened about painting a bull’s eye on her beloved son’s back, even more than on her own back. While she is strongly attracted to Hold Abbot, who is on the island working on the genealogy of the islanders trying to find Eugenia’s adoptive family, she’s also wary about him finding out her possible connection to Eugenia.
Hold is equally attracted to Jessi and turns cartwheels trying to get her into his bed. He’s not looking for love, having already had his dreams smashed once by a gold digger after his family’s fortune, so he keeps his own roots hidden as he searches for Jessica’s. I thoroughly enjoyed all his attempts to break through the walls that Jessica continues to put in his way, as he tries to run off all the other single women on the island, who would do anything for a place in his bed. The author does a great job of depicting the budding relationship between him and Jessi’s son Benji.
Just when it seems that Hold is starting to breach her defenses, Benji’s father Lance appears on the scene after his eight-year hiatus. Can Jessica trust that Lance’s motives are pure and that there is nothing sinister in his sudden appearance, just as it appears that she and Benji might actually be Eugenia’s descendants? And if his motives are pure, then she really needs to chose the best alternative not just for her but most importantly her son. Not an easy choice …… But Hold’s keeping secrets from her too. Wait until she comes face to face with those.
Life in a small town is very akin to life on a small island with the insular nature of the residents and everyone being in everyone else’s business. From time to time during the story, I entertained myself giving sinister motives to some of the characters. All in all, while I feel that the romance takes a while to really begin to move and then still isn’t big shakes, the overall mystery absorbs my interest.
SOME PASSIONS CAN’T BE DENIED . . .
Jessi Randal walked away from her last relationship with a baby and a broken heart. Now, years later, the last thing this single mom wants is to give Windfall Island-and all its nosy residents-anything more to gossip about. But the moment she lays eyes on the tall, sexy stranger with the slow Southern drawl, she knows she’s in delicious trouble . . .
Holden Abbot is on the island to find the missing heir to the Stanhope family fortune. It’s his job to charm as many secrets out of the town as possible. And if he can charm Jessi into his bed, even better. When all evidence points to her as the heir, a dangerous enemy sets his sights on Jessi and her son. Now Holden will have to risk everything to protect the family he’s come to love.
No excerpt available.