OPEN SEASON by Linda Howard
Pocket Books, August 2001
On her thirty-fourth birthday, Daisy Minor has had enough. She's tired of being boring, ready to dance, date, fall in love, and get married. Of course she has no idea how to do any of those things, but she's ready for a makeover. She won't be a good girl any more, and knows she can't be a bad girl. What she can be, though, is a party girl--and she does intend to party.
Chief of police Jack Russo has noticed Daisy before, but when she turns into the blonde bombshell, he does more than notice. Especially since Daisy doesn't seem to have a clue how to behave in the dangerous world she lives in. Date rape and worse are possible even in small-town Alabama, and Daisy seems too innocent to survive. Of course taking care of Daisy is a pleasure in itself, even if she does get mad that he's getting in the way of her having a good time and finding the right man. One thing they both know, Jack can't be the right man.
With a suspense subplot involving kidnapped foreign women brought to America for sexual exploitation and murder, author Linda Howard has created a delightful blend of romance and plot. Someone in their small town will stop at nothing to protect their illegal enterprise, and Daisy finds herself in the crosshairs. Howard's comic touches make the novel even more enjoyable
OPEN SEASON is a page-turning read. Jack and Daisy are believable and their romance seems human and gentle while maintaining a strong sexual attraction. I especially liked Howard's secondary characters including the slimy mayor Temple Nolan and especially the plotting criminal Glenn Sykes. With Sykes, in particular, Howard provides a fine (and difficult) balance between pure evil and a fully sympathetic character.
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