Review of THE TREASURE MAN by Pamela Browning (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1111, April 2006
Reviewed by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)
Chloe Timberlake's relocation to Florida has a two-fold purpose: first, to look after her cousins' bed & breakfast, The Frangipani Inn, and second to get her jewelry design business off the ground. The one thing she doesn't have in mind--at the moment anyway--is romance. But when Ben Derrick shows up at the Inn, not only needing a job, but every bit as handsome as Chloe remembers him from the summer she turned sixteen, she does what she always does--she gives in. Chloe tells herself she's an adult now and can do as she pleases, and she's not about to give her heart to Ben a second time.
Ben doesn't have romance on his mind either. He's been through a personal tragedy, the death of his young daughter, and he's determined not to share his heart with anyone, ever again. Coupled with the guilt he feels over his daughter's death and his struggle to overcome his alcoholism, Ben doesn't think he's much of a catch anyway. He tries to keep his focus away from Chloe and on convincing his ex-boss to re-hire him as a deep sea-diving treasure hunger
But as Chloe and Ben work to fix up the Inn, they find a companionable friendship they hadn't expected, not to mention passion lurking just beneath. The arrival of Chloe's wayward niece on the scene holds their developing feelings in check, and gives them both a chance to better explore the friendship as well as their own issues. When a near-tragedy comes upon them again, however, this time they're able to work together to save someone they love, and in the end they're both saved and strengthened by the experience.
The Treasure Man is a nice little romp down to the Everglades with a pretty look at the ocean and a foray into treasure hunting in that part of the country--the background narrative was the best part of this book. The characters were typical of the romantic hero and heroine, with the rebellious teenage niece thrown in for a little fun. This is a good one to pick up if you are looking for some standard fluff but not much else.
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