I haven't read a lot of books by Lori Foster, but I've generally found that she is a hit or miss author for me. When she's on, she's really on, and when she's off, I struggle to finish. Unfortunately, this book fit into the latter category for me.
Unbeknownst to me when I ordered it, this book is the final in a series about the men of Buckhorn County. It was originally published in 2000 under the title Casey (Buckhorn Brothers, Book 5) and re-released as Enticing (Casey / Caught in the Act). In the foreword to the book, the author acknowledges that she enjoyed writing about the Buckhorn men and that she wasn't sure if the stories were becoming dated, but I don't recall that she actually says whether she made any changes in this version of the story to deal with that issue. In any case, I've not read any of the other Buckhorn books, and I hadn't read this one, but it did definitely have a sense of being dated by its subject matter and characterizations.
I thought the premise of the story was good--Emma was a wild child with a bad home life who used sex as a way of finding comfort and escape. She was pretty loose with her favors, and well-known to the boys of Buckhorn, but the one boy she really wanted was Casey. He had always been attracted to her, but sensing her troubles and being a much loved golden boy, he had always refrained from giving in to her blatant overtures. After a particularly difficult night at home, Emma turns to Casey and his family for help, and they take her in for a night, but she disappears by morning, and they have no idea what happened to her for the next eight years. Jump forward, and Emma has returned to town to see her father after he's suffered a debilitating stroke. Her car breaks down, and, of course, who but Casey comes to her rescue.
The first 10 or 15 pages take place during that one night when Emma ran away. The next 175 or so take place in the first day that Emma returns to town. Sure, there are some details that wrap up the story after this, but I just didn't find it at all credible that Casey and Emma not only renew their acquaintanceship, but basically fall in love over the course of one day. I suspect that they might have played out some of their romance in the previous books of the Buckhorn series, but I didn't see it on the pages of this book. In fact, I was rather annoyed that Casey, who was supposed to be this savior to Emma when she was younger is all about jumping her bones from the first moment he sees her after her 8 year disappearance. Nothing in this spoke to me of emotion or romance or even him being a good guy.
Also, there's supposed to be this big mystery about what made Emma run away all those years ago, and it all just seems so overplayed to me. Given all the connections in Casey's family, and the fact that they are so trusted in Buckhorn, it just didn't make sense that she never went to them with the truth in the first place.
I will admit that I liked the characterization of Casey's father, his uncles, and their wives. I get the impression that a lot of this book was intended to fill the reader in on what had happened to those couples in the years since their books had taken place. For fans who've read those books, those interactions were probably interesting and fun. But I suspect those fans have already read this book in one of its previous incarnations. As to readers who haven't read the previous books in the Buckhorn series, you really won't be missing much to skip this one.