Review of THE BRIDE'S BEST MAN by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
Silhouette Romance #1823, July 2006
Shelby Cook and her young aunt Kay are Hawaii for a two week vacation to celebrate Shelby's graduation from law school. There, they are joined by Dan Jackson and his business partner, Pete Campbell. Sparks fly. Kay is obviously attracted to Dan, despite a 12 year age difference. Likewise, Pete sends Shelby's hormones into overdrive. Still, Shelby can't help feeling that something is being left unsaid. When she overhears Dan discussing his "plan" with Pete, she suspects that she and Kay are not just being treated to a little island flirtation--Dan has something else on his agenda.
Through a traumatic childhood (Shelby's mother abused drugs and her stepfather attempted to rape her), Shelby had depended on her Kay, and Kay had become a second mother, a real mother to her when her biological mother was too disturbed and too absorbed in her addiction to take proper care of her. Now, Shelby feels the need to give some of that protection back--even if it means not seeing as much of Pete as she'd like, Kay gave up her young adulthood taking care of Shelby and doesn't have much experience with men--and she falls hard and fast for Dan.
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) spins a charming tale of island romance. But Christenberry's story is about more than the island paradise. Everyone in this story is keeping secrets, afraid to make the first move, to admit the truth about their feelings--or about their past. Without the truth, physical attraction, not matter how strong, cannot create a strong relationship. Denied the truth, Shelby is quick to jump tot he worst possible conclusions about Dan's and Pete's motives. It seems that the only way to protect both herself and the woman who has become more than a mother to her is to abandon her own chances for happiness.
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