In the second installment of Dodd's contemporary trilogy, the middle Prescott sister, Pepper is featured as a hard-nosed, hard-working, wounded young woman with a tremendous amount of trust issues. Orphaned, and torn from her family at the age of eight, she had been parceled out and lived in various foster homes, none for very long as her rebelliousness caused her to be tossed around quite often. Only once, - the final foster home in Diamond Idaho, where she had stayed the longest did she feel some sense of belonging, but even from there she ran. The years in between, after reading an inspiring memoir of a woman's accomplishments, she turned her life around and started a thriving landscape business. Discovering and witnessing her hero, General Jennifer Napier, killing her aide after he accused her of furnishing government secrets to terrorists, Pepper who had been living under an assumed name herself, knew she had to run for her life because who would believe her word over that of a General. Running to the last place that had felt like a home to her, Pepper discovered that her long lost lover Dan Graham, had taken up residence and was now keeping up the ranch. Not only was Dan there, but her foster mother had died and left the ranch to her. Years before, Dan was the reason she had left, and the years in between hadn't lessened the attraction they both still felt, but trust was another matter entirely.
In this sequel, Dodd turns up the heat in some very passionate and exciting sensual laden encounters. Brisk writing, page turning action, and hot and steamy sex had all the makings of this being a stellar read, but for the fact that I was totally aggravated with our heroine and hero - especially Pepper. After all, after having this amazingly sensual connection with a he-man type gorgeous soldier, she couldn't TRUST him to tell the truth, to share her burdens that someone (an Army General) was trying to kill her? And her reasons for running away from him in the first place - didn't cut it. Granted he had his secrets too, but she was just too prickly to warm up to. I did like the action, the covert gadgets and thrill of terrorists attack. Unfortunately, even the hero turned into too much of a cave-man with the `you belong to me - we're mated' statement! Ugh, I cringe! But sensibilities aside, when an author can arouse readers emotions with a characters' distasteful personality - then you do have to appreciate the writing talent and Ms. Dodd is certainly that, a writer with enormous talent. Bottom line - I enjoyed the read, I just didn't warm up to nor embrace the main characters. ----- Marilyn Rondeau, Official Reviewer for www.historicalromancewriters.com ----