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- Reviews - Alpha by Author
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Nina and her diner are among the most popular in town. She's always cheerful, has a kind word for everyone, and looks out for her employees. She's also a very private person about her past. She's attracted to Flint, but because of issues in her past, won't allow herself to fall for a man in law enforcement. But when she witnesses a brutal murder, and her house is burned down as a warning, she has to accept Flint's protection.
Forced into each other's company, Flint and Nina really get to know each other over the next several weeks. I loved watching Nina's distrust start to dissolve as she learned more about Flint. Because of her experience seeing the dysfunctional relationship between her parents, she has resolved that she will never marry and have a family of her own, but her attraction to Flint is hard to resist. Staying with him gives her a taste of what could be, but she's still afraid to trust completely. I really liked seeing her doubts put to rest by a comment from a little boy. I also liked seeing her relationships with her friends. She is such a warm and loving person that I was really rooting for her and Flint to make a go of it. I loved her excitement over her Thanksgiving plans. The aftermath showed just how much other people loved her.
Having Nina live with him was a dream come true for Flint. His attraction to her has been a big part of him for a year, and this is his chance to get to know her. He also knows that he has to be extra vigilant, and not allow himself to be distracted. Before he came home to Dead River he had lost a witness he had been assigned to protect, and that failure haunts him. As he overcomes her initial coolness, Flint begins to dream of what it would be like to have Nina in his life permanently. I loved seeing how determined he was to take care of her, not just protect her. He was very attuned to her moods, and it was sweet to see him try to cheer her up on those rare occasions she was down. He was so ready to settle down with her, but overcoming her fears was going to be a real challenge.
The suspense of the story had me riveted throughout. Nina's witnessing of the murder and loss of her house to arson, started things out with a rush. Seeing Flint and his men working so hard to find him, and running into so many obstacles, had me wondering if they would ever catch a break. The hijacking of the school bus and confrontation with the murderer was intense, but had an unexpected twist to it. The issue of the virus is ongoing, and the stress is getting to everyone. The realism of people's actions and reactions was awesome, and made me feel as though this could really happen. I'm looking forward to the next book and seeing how it all turns out.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Sunday, December 28, 2014
I loved Trace and Gemma. She is feisty and determined and isn't going to let anything get in her way. Her first encounter with Trace shakes her up a bit. There are sparks when he touches her and she has to work hard not to let them distract her. Trace had been attempting to do just that, but it backfired when he found that he couldn't get her off his mind. That came in handy when he found himself rescuing her during a post rodeo dance. Trace seems pretty self-centered up to that point, with his confidence and his adoring groupies, but when Gemma passes out in his arms, he is the perfect gentleman. I loved the care he took of her.
This was the start of the relationship between Gemma and Trace. Though they remain fierce rivals in the rodeo ring, outside of it they become terrific friends. They have a lot in common and I loved seeing them learn about each other. The more time they spent with each other, the greater the attraction was, until they couldn't help but act on it. Each of them started to dream of the future, but neither wanted to rock the boat until the competition was over.
I loved the part where, between two of the rodeos, they went to help Trace's uncle on his ranch. They were each assigned ten at risk kids from the city. Gemma had the girls and Trace had the boys. I loved seeing how great they were with those kids. There was lots of fun banter, competitions between the kids, and some life lessons learned by all of them. Gemma and Trace also learned a bit about themselves as they were helping the kids.
The baby of the title shows up late in the book, though its story is not a surprise. There are hints throughout the book about what is going to happen. I loved Trace's reaction and the way he immediately stepped up. It was also fun to see him cope with not having a clue how to take care of a baby. He was so sweet and so determined. Gemma's presence and willingness to help him, made him care for her even more.
Gemma's feelings for Trace had been getting stronger the longer they were together. I loved seeing her dreams of the future adjust to the changes in her emotions. I also liked the way that her determination to win didn't change, but she also saw other possibilities. I loved the ending with the final competition and the events that unfolded after it. Trace had a much bigger romantic streak than I expected.
Another thing I enjoyed about the book was how important family was to both Gemma and Trace. It was fun to see how each of them coped with the attitudes of various family members, especially their mothers. I also had fun with how Gemma's girlfriends reacted to her relationship with Trace and the teasing she endured. It was great to see all the support that Gemma and Trace had for both their careers and their relationship.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Virginia was an American heiress, brought to London by her father to marry a man with a title. He didn't care what she wanted, she would basically go to the highest bidder. In the meantime, Virginia had met a Scottish man, a self-made millionaire, who understood her. They would meet at balls or other places where she could escape, and talk about politics, science, literature or anything that caught their fancy. They fell in love, but her father wouldn't even consider Macrath as a suitor. She was forced to marry the earl and forbidden to see or speak to Macrath.
Less than a year later, her husband was dead, and she discovered that all the money she had brought to the marriage had been used to purchase land that was then left to the cousin who inherited the title. Virginia and her mother- and sisters-in-law, were left with nothing unless Virginia had produced a son. Her mother-in-law, whom I DID NOT like at all, convinced her that she needed to quickly find a man who could get her pregnant with a child she could pass off as her husband's. Virginia did not like that idea at all, but could see no other option to keep them from becoming destitute. So she ran off to Scotland to try to seduce Macrath.
Macrath was stunned to see Virginia show up at Drumvagen. He had been unable to forget her after her marriage and had buried himself in his work. He was happy to have her there and hoped to make her want to stay. He was very willing to show her "how it's supposed to be between a man and a woman". After just a few days he's devastated to find out she has no intention of staying in Scotland, but returning to London. They part ways, and he heads off to Australia on business and she returns to London to take care of her family.
Unsurprisingly, she does end up pregnant and has a son, who the world assumes is her husband's. The baby is just a few months old when smallpox sweeps through London and Virginia becomes quite ill. Macrath returns to London about that time, and discovering the truth about the child, takes the baby back to Scotland while Virginia is ill, without telling her. She chases after him before she is fully recovered. When she arrives, he is still furious at her deception and refuses to allow her in the house or to see the baby. Over the next couple weeks she is stuck in a cottage on the estate and still unable to see the baby. By this point, Virginia has finally started to find a backbone and refuses to be kept away. I really enjoyed her determination and seeing what she does.
Over the next few weeks, Macrath begins to soften toward Virginia a little as he sees what a good mother she really is. Virginia also sees Macrath's happiness in being a father. But she still refuses to consider staying in Scotland, determined to keep up the deception and protect her family. It is getting harder for each of them, as their feelings for each other have only gotten stronger. The conflict could have been greatly reduced if she had just told him what the problem was.
Things were also complicated by her late husband's personal assistant, who was obsessed with Virginia. He was determined to have her for himself, and willing to do anything to get her. Over the course of the book he went from creepy to obsessed to dangerous. His appearance in Scotland added a layer of intensity that finally brought Macrath and Virginia together.
Virginia irritated me through most of the book because of her unwillingness to tell Macrath what was going on. She did have redeeming qualities. I liked her determination to take care of her son herself, no turn him over to nannies and we nurses. She was also kind to her in-laws, even though the mother-in-law was a piece of work. I didn't like that woman at all. Virginia was also pretty down-to-earth. She really didn't care about the benefits of the title. But until she became a mother, I found her to be rather a doormat.
Macrath I liked a lot. He made something of himself through his own hard work. He was true to himself, not trying to change to fit in with the aristocracy. I liked the way he treated Virginia like an intelligent human being when they had their discussions in the first part of the book. I completely understood his anger when he found out about the baby. I even understood his actions when Virginia came to Scotland, even though I felt he could have handled things a little better. I liked seeing him soften toward her, and realize that he still wanted her in his life. I thought his pursuit of her was pretty sweet.