by Tina DeSalvo
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Once invited into New Orleans’ historic mansions to evaluate prized antiques, Dr. Jewell Duet held a coveted professorship at a top university. With her deep knowledge of Louisiana history and antiquities, she was the go-to person for anyone requiring professional appraisals. But, one hasty decision cost her both her reputation and possibly her freedom. Now, as she waits to discover if her future includes prison, Jewell knows that taking the job at Sugar Mill is necessary if she is to support her beloved grandmother who has advanced dementia.
Charming, sexy lawyer Beau Bienvenu's attraction to the intriguing historian vies with his distrust of her motives. Beau has one simple goal when it comes to the family that rescued him and made him part of their clan…protect them at all costs. He doesn't trust Jewell, nor her reason for taking the lowly job at Sugar Mill Plantation. What is she really up to? Is it possible Jewell and her quirky grandmother are there to try to profit from a Bienvenu family mystery? If so, both women are out of luck.
Jewell and Beau are at odds about almost everything. The only things they agree on are that family is everything…and that their mutual attraction is inconvenient.
Hope, Love and Second Chances Continue in the heart of Cajun Country
Jewell touched his arm briefly as a sign of understanding, then dropped her hand to her lap.
“Oh, hell.” He frowned, his head dropped forward. “I can’t like you, Jewell. I can’t be softened by how nice you appear. By the way you care for your grandmother.” He turned his head to look at her. “I can’t.”
“We don’t have to be enemies, Beau.”
“Friends?” He blew out a breath. “Merde.” He cursed again in Cajun French. “We can only be adversaries, Boots. I have to protect my family. I can’t make any mistakes where they’re concerned.” He shook his head. “No. We definitely can’t be friends. Friends need to trust one another.”
He looked at her; his rich green eyes looked so honest, so vulnerable and yet, so determined. It frightened her. He frightened her. How he made her feel when he looked at her frightened her.
“You will not blindside me because I want to believe you,” he said, his voice strong, determined. “Hell, I do want to believe you, but I don’t. God, that would make life a lot less problematic. You weave a good tale, chère. I’ll give you that.”
His words stung. Bruised her pride. Yet, she wouldn’t let her personal feelings detour her mission. She was fighting for Mimi—the dear woman whom Jewell shared nearly every part of her history with, the woman who heartbreakingly would soon not remember her, or that history. That thought was impossible enough to deal with every day. She didn’t need to add any useless emotions to the mix.
I really enjoyed reading this book. First, I loved the Southern setting. I live in the South myself so anything set here is good to me. Who doesn't love old Southern plantations filled with handsome, dashing, young men? Of course, the man in question doesn't trust Jewell, the heroine, but he's attracted to her anyway.
I liked Jewell and mostly admired her. Jewell's devotion to her work was impressive, but the part of her character that I liked best was her love and compassion for her grandmother. Jewell's mother was a famous stripper on Bourbon Street. She didn't have any use for children, so Jewell's grandmother raised her. Grandmother has advanced dementia so her mind is slipping, but Jewell tenderly watches over her. However, it did seem to me that Jewell didn't put up as vigorous a legal defense as she should have once she was accused of a crime. She had her reasons, though.
The third thing I liked about the book was the mystery running through it. I wanted to keep reading so I could find out how things ended up.
The book was well written and edited. In South Carolina when someone is a little bit different we may say, "She's a character." There were some really fun characters in Jewell. 5 stars, and I'd read more of her work.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tina DeSalvo enjoys using her imagination, humor, empathy and personal experiences to turn characters and situations into books that she hopes will entertain readers. Her first book, Elli, brought her in close contact with so many readers with whom she has loved sharing stories, laughs, tears and hugs. Tina has always been inspired by the people she meets and by hearing their personal journeys, not to mention the people she just observes along the way…so, watch out. You could be a character in her next book!
Tina is married to her handsome Cajun hero, and they live in Louisiana. They have two sons, a wonderful daughter (in-law) and four delightful grandchildren.
If you'd like to know more about Tina DeSalvo, including info on her newest work, latest contests, where she’s speaking or having a book signing, where she gets her ideas, or to see her photos from when she meets her cherished readers…please visit her website at www.tinadesalvo.com