PJV Quickie: I chose this book solely for the Louisiana connection. I wanted a good romance and a Louisiana bayou setting seemed like just the ticket. The book was enjoyable, but if I was looking for romance, I didn’t find it.
Review: The book centers around a house in Mystere Parish, Louisiana, where a rich widow married a bad man. That man was so horrible to his new wife and her three daughters that the wife quickly succumbed to a “broken heart” (she died) and the step-father split up the three sisters and sent them to distant relatives to live out their lives. When the step-father finally dies of old-age, the girls are called back to their childhood home, sullied by their evil-stepfather, in a parish that is choked with mysteries and hauntings. Alaina LeBeau is the first child located to uphold her side of the will, she has to live in the house for two weeks. The problem is the house is still full of negative energy and the stepdad supposedly made a habit of blackmailing and false promises that would leave a few people with bad intentions toward the sisters. The lawyer in charge of the estate brings Alaina home, but asks the local Sheriff to keep an eye on her for the two weeks she’ll be living in the house.
I liked Alaina’s character, she was this big shot lawyer from Baton Rouge, with her own enemies, so the trip down to her childhood home was an escape. When she does move into the mansion, strange things begin to happen almost immediately, thus leading to the Sheriff making Alaina his number one priority. Luckily the sheriff is super sexy and super dedicated to protecting Alaina because they have a mystery to solve.
This was a very easy read and I would have been okay with that, if DeLeon would have delivered more romance. But it was a two week, protector/protected situation and it was almost an instant attraction where they fell into bed together…leading to a brushed over romance in which Alaina changes her whole life. And not really that much of sexy time, the whole fade-to-black thing. Then there was the mystery part of the novel, it was just silly at times. The mom died of a “broken heart,” this is actually what the sheriff and the lawyer and everyone in the town believe, because people die of broken hearts all the time. Fine for maybe an 80 year old, but a 30 -something widow that had remarried, not so much. Then the fact that she remarried made no sense either, she was rich and the guy was an ass and she was still in-love with her dead husband. Then on top of that she wrote out this freaking elaborate will that required the girls to move back to their childhood home for two weeks, which almost spoke of some kind of precognition from the mom. Because how would she know that the stepdad would ship them off and they wouldn’t know each other? Just didn’t make sense. Then of course the bad guy sneaks around the house, knowing secret passages in the house, does screwed up things to her — with an intention of killing Alaina. Because if you were a dastardly bad-guy and you wanted to kill someone you would sneak around their house for a few weeks before actually getting around to doing the murderous deed.
Basically, while entertaining, the lack of depth and the brushed over romance and mystery of this ROMANTIC SUSPENSE novel failed to deliver a full bodied read, I could swoon all I wanted over the great characters…but in the end it was all just a bit of foreplay with no final release.
Recommendations: Recommended for readers that want a lighter mystery without all of that deep plot to muddy it up. This is an adult novel but there is nothing overly erotic or disturbing about it.