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    Review of A TEXAS FAMILY REUNION by Judy Christenberry (see her website)


    Harlequin American #1097, January, 2006

    When he hires an attractive ex-cop to help in his detective agency, Will Greenfield doesn't dream that she'll be the key clue to discovering the last of the missing Barlow family. Years before, the orphaned Barlow children had been split up, separated between multiple families and raised with, in many cases, no idea of where their blood-siblings might be. Will had found family members and romance when he'd been hired to track down the first members of the family, but David Buford (Barlow) is checking on his cousin, Alex--the newly hired detective, making sure she's in a supportive environment.

    David does his best to persuade himself--and Alex--that he's just doing what a cousin should do. Alex thought she was over the long-ago childhood crush she felt for her cousin--but spending time with him and seeing him in danger makes her realize that she isn't over the crush--if anything, her feelings have matured from those youthful dreams. Good thing David isn't really her blood cousin.

    When someone leaks secrets from David's company, David hires Will's detective agency to help track down the spy--and gets to see Alex in action. She isn't the helpless woman his mother believes all females should be--instead she's strong, capable, and exactly what he wants. The threat grows from a purely business issue to physical violence as someone tries to hunt down David (and his partner, Pete--a man very interested in David's sister). Injuries and the destruction of his condo force David to rethink his priorities--and make him yearn for a home, a dog, and even, given the right circumstances, a wife. Can he persuade Alex that he wants to be more than a cousin?

    Author Judy Christenberry (see more reviews of novels by Christenberry) continues her CHILDREN OF TEXAS series with the discovery of David, the last of the Barlow children. David is initially reluctant to be found--his views of family distorted by his overly-demanding mother. Seeing a supportive family in action gives him the strength to imagine a better life for himself. Alex is a charming blend of can-do woman and naive girl. Hurt when she realizes her boyfriend, Neil, wanted her for her money, Alex has a hard time believing that David wants her for something more long-lasting than a temporary sexual relationship. Can their shared adventures, shared interest in creating a home, and mutual attraction prove strong enough to overcome their doubts, previous bad experiences, and fears?

    In a nice secondary romance between David's sister Susan and his business partner, Pete, Christenberry explores the issues of prejudice, adding a depth to the story.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/08/05

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