Tall, lean and headstrong, FBI agent Kilraven lives by his own rules. And one of those rules includes keeping his hands off Jacobsville's resident sweetheart, Winnie Sinclair, no matter the temptation. Shy and innocent, Winnie couldn't handle a man like him—a merciless man with a haunted past. And this small town may hold not only the woman he fights to resist, but the answers to a cold case that is very personal to Kilraven….
It only takes the first few lines of the jacket synopsis to tell you that this is standard Harlequin fare - not that that's a bad thing. I enjoyed the story, predictable as it may have been, but there were a few spots where I had trouble. First off, it quickly became obvious that this book is built on characters previously introduced, although I'm not sure when/where. There was so much background information thrown in randomly and characters who I was expected to recognize that it was a bit disconcerting. I was still able to follow the plot without access to all that info, but it left me feeling a bit out of the loop.
My second trouble spot was the naivete of the characters. I seriously appreciate characters with morals and an author who refuses to write about pre-marital sex flippantly or as though it is standard practice. However, I found Winnie to be innocent to the point of impossibility, so it was hard to swallow that she could be a seasoned 911 dispatcher or would jump head-long into a murder investigation and false marriage. Even though Killraven is described as "merciless" he was anything but. Perhaps he was willing to bend some rules to catch a killer, but certainly not to the point of being cut-throat, as the synopsis suggests.
My final rough spot applies not only to this book but, more and more frequently, to all new releases: The use of Spell Check rather than human proofreading. I realize running a quick computer check is much more cost efficient than paying someone to actually read the manuscript, but computers only look for words that are in their programmed vocabulary. They can't tell the difference between "then" and "than" for instance, but it makes considerable difference in the meaning of the sentence, as does a misplaced comma. Yes, I was able to understand what Ms. Palmer meant, but for some reason it annoys me coming from an established publisher.
After all those bumps in the road, you would probably guess that I didn't care for the trip, but you would be wrong. In spite of all that, it was still an enjoyable, relaxing read.