Review of HOMETOWN HONEY by Kara Lennox (see her website)
Harlequin American #1068, May, 2005
Cindy Lefler is set for life. Her handsome fiance shares her interest in travel and loves her son. Dex Shalimar is taking care of selling her business and then they'll honeymoon in Indonesia and see the world. Even better, she can rub hunky cop Luke Rheems's nose in it. He's never liked Dex, always thought something was fishy. Well, Luke is afraid to leave smalltown Cottonwood, Texas. Cindy wants nothing more than to see it, and the diner that ruined her parents' life in her rear-view mirror.
When two attractive blondes walk into the Miracle Cafe where Cindy is wrapping up her last day's work, Cindy doesn't think much of it. Except when they corner her and tell her that Dex is actually Marvin Carter--a con-man. She's sure they are wrong--Luke had Dex checked out. But her bank account has been emptied, a man arrives at the diner with the story that he's bought the place, and Dex, or Marvin, is nowhere to be found. All of a sudden, Cindy is homeless, jobless, and husbandless. It's not a good place for a single mother.
Luke Rheems has always liked Cindy, but he can't share her dreams. She wants to leave Cottonwood, but the town is the only home he's ever found. Still, when social services threatens to take away Cindy's child, Luke feels compelled to offer his help--even if it means working with those other troublesome blondes and leaving his comfort zone--and Texas. He's just being a good deputy sheriff, though. No way is he ever going to have a serious relationship with Cindy.
Cindy discovers that the other two blondes, Sonya and Brenna, had also been taken by Marvin. They swear to work together to track him down and bring him to justice--blond justice. Luke gets roped in and they set off on investigation and adventure.
Gradually Luke and Cindy learn to understand one another and sympathize with the other's needs. Still, can a woman with a need for travel ever settle down with a man who only wants home?
Author Kara Lennox (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Lennox) kicks off her 'Blond Justice' series with a story that's both heartwarming and exciting. Cindy is a powerful character and Luke makes a perfect foil. The smalltown atmosphere of Cottonwood, Texas rings true with Cindy's diner being a key part of the community and a support center for her. But Lennox doesn't hesitate to deal with real issues--predators like Marvin and the plight of women who lose their jobs and whose children are at risk.
HOMETOWN HONEY is a terrific read. I recommend it highly.
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