Monday, April 6, 2015

Once and Always by Julia Harper

Book Blurb:

Small town cop Sam West certainly doesn't mind a routine traffic stop: speeding ticket, stern warning, and sayonara. With a whopper of a blizzard closing in, that's all he has time for. But the lawbreaker he pulls over is anything but typical. From her mile-long legs to her razor-sharp wit, Maisa Bradley is like nothing Coot Lake, Minnesota, has ever seen . . . and she's about to take Sam on the ride of his life. 


Whoever said blood is thicker than water probably wasn't related to a former Russian mobster. But an innocent mix-up and rumors of stolen diamonds soon have the Russian mob taking an unusual interest in the sleepy little town-and Maisa facing heated scrutiny from a certain tall, dark, and handsome deputy. Sam's dazzling blue eyes beg her to reveal all her secrets, but how much should she tell? Getting snowed in with the sexiest lawman in the frozen north may not be the worst way to decide . . .

My Review:

Once and Always is full of secrets, mystery and intrigue.  Fast paced with an interesting plot and characters, Julia swept me into Coot Lake like the winter snow storm.

May leads a pretty isolated life and she keeps people at an arms length away from her.  Except for the one night she spent with Sam.  Neither have been able to forget that night or each other.  Sam still wants more, but May is determined he can't have more...even if somewhere deep inside that's what she wants too.  May doesn't think she's right for him, she has a background she hides and is always a little bit scared eventually her family's past will catch up with her.  But May is not the only one with a past she'd rather keep hidden.

Sam has his own hauntings, but with May, Sam doesn't give up easily.  But this time when May comes back to Coot Lake to visit her uncle all sorts of other trouble begins to brew.  Coincidence or not, suddenly the Russian mafia is in Coot Lake, and danger is a frightening thing.

As Sam tries to break down May's walls, he's also trying to piece together what exactly is happening in Coot Lake.  When the puzzle pieces start to come together, can he keep everyone safe and win May over?

May is a bit of a hard heroine to like initially.  Out of a sense of self preservation, she is not very nice at all to Sam and I couldn't figure out what he saw in her.  I did like Sam from the start, especially once Julia started to peel away his layers.  Sam doesn't let May push him away easily though, and his persistence is admirable!  He sees something in her.  The push and pull, the conflict, and the chemistry all added a lot of spice to Once and Always.  

Julia is slow to reveal a lot of details significant to the plot, and at times because of this there was some confusion for me.  There are quite a few sub plots and secondary characters in Once and Always, and though they added backbone to the main plot, at times it was distracting.

I did like the small town feel I got from Once and Always, how in times of trouble people pull together.  

Once and Always is well paced, full of life, action and entertainment that did hold my attention.  

I'd recommend Once and Always to romance readers who like steam and suspense in a small town setting.

3/5 stars

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