Friday, October 4, 2013

His Brown-Eyed Girl - Liz Talley (HS #1878 - Oct 2013)

She's saving him from…the kids?

Lucas Finlay is used to calling the shots. But looking after his two nephews and niece in New Orleans, he's entirely out of his league. Luckily help is next door. With almost no effort Addy Toussant manages to make order from the kid chaos. Lucas is beyond grateful…he's also very attracted to her. Images of an adults-only playdate are soon dancing in his head.

Yet something in Addy's golden-brown eyes tells him not to rush her. If this romance is to go anywhere, he needs to let her take the lead. Given the sizzling potential of what they have together, Lucas is okay with that.

Good book with both fun and emotional depth. It was a little slow to start for me, but really picked up steam by the middle.  Lucas is in New Orleans looking after his niece and two nephews.  He had been estranged from his brother and sister-in-law for thirteen years, but when his brother was injured in Afghanistan and his sister-in-law needed to be in Virginia with him, he went.  The kids don't know him at all and Lucas has no experience with kids so he is floundering.  When one of the boys drives his motorbike through Addy's greenhouse she takes pity on Lucas and offers to help him with the kids.  There is an attraction between them, but Lucas sees a great deal of wariness in Addy's eyes, so he is determined to take his time.

Addy is a woman who lives looking over her shoulder.  As a teenager she was attacked and nearly raped by a man who is currently in prison.  She frequently gets things in the mail that she knows are from him but it can't be proved.  He is due up for parole and she fears what will happen when he gets out.  She still participates in support groups and feels like she is doing well.  She is still very cautious around men, especially large ones and Lucas's sudden appearance makes her nervous at first.  Strangely enough for her that nervousness doesn't last and her sympathy for his distress takes over.  I really loved seeing her step outside her comfort zone and spend time with Lucas and the kids.  His obvious attraction to her, coupled with his patience, went a long way toward making her think that she had a chance at a normal life.  But when the threats against her escalated she pulled away, not wanting her problems to create danger for Lucas and his family.  Addy's strength really impressed me.  In spite of her fears she was living a relatively normal life.  She was cautious but had friends and activities that she participated in.  I also really enjoyed her willingness to help Lucas.  There were some pretty emotional parts where she was able to comfort one of his nephews and also where she was able to give Lucas a different way to look at things.  I loved her strength of purpose at the end as she was determined to protect little Charlotte and her aunt.

Lucas had cut off all contact with his brother and sister-in-law years ago.  Courtney had been his girlfriend while he was going to school, until she met and fell in love with his brother.  He felt betrayed and couldn't forgive them.  As a result he didn't know the kids at all when he suddenly showed up to care for them.  He is used to living alone and having everything quiet and well ordered.  His oldest nephew knows there is something going on with his parents that he hasn't been told about and is taking his anger and resentment out on Lucas.  The other two kids just seem to be scared of him most of the time.  His sister-in-law left very few instructions for him and he is totally lost about how to deal with all of it.  When he met Addy he was instantly attracted to her.  As much as he was interested in pursuing that attraction he sensed that it would not be easy to get close to her.  He was, however, very appreciative of her offer to help him with the kids.  I loved seeing him at the beginning trying to cope with doing Charlotte's hair, keeping Chris from destroying everything, and dealing with Michael's anger.  Once Addy joined him he started having a better chance at keeping his sanity.  His Saturday trip with Addy and the kids to show them places he and their father had liked as kids was a brilliant idea and marked a turning point with the children.  I also liked seeing him start to realize that he didn't want his problems with his brother to continue and to try to figure out how to fix them.  He was also trying to deal with his growing feelings for Addy and fighting the idea that it was love, and emotion he'd tried to convince himself didn't exist for him.  I did have a problem with the way that he blew off her fears at the end, even though she hadn't told him everything.  

The secondary characters were very well done.  All three kids acted just like kids of that age would, especially under the stress they were under.  I really enjoyed Michael and his teenage attitudes toward his little brother, especially when that little brother was so good at tormenting him.  I also loved Addy's Aunt Flora.  Her struggles with coping with the beginnings of her Alzheimer's were just heartbreaking.  On the other hand her joy in experiencing so much of life was wonderful to see.  I especially liked her coming to the rescue at the end - she was a hoot!  The conflict with his brother and the possible resolution was believable, as was his brother's attitude when they talked.

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