The third in bestselling Deveraux’s Edilean series (Days of Gold, 2009, etc.) offers a dashing detective, a spunky heroine and a town with old secrets.
Sara Shaw is about to marry outsider Greg Anders, even though the whole town of Edilean, Va., distrusts the man. Luckily the FBI and Florida undercover detective Mike Newland is on the case. It happens that the townspeople are right in their suspicions: Greg Anders, aka Stefan Vandlo, is a murderous con man who works with his equally notorious mother Mitzi. Law enforcement knows that Greg/Stefan is marrying Sara for some large monetary gain, but no one can figure out what it could be. Mike’s baby sister Tess is best friends with Sara, and while Tess is honeymooning in Italy, Mike arranges to stay at Tess’ apartment with Sara, while Greg is “away” (actually the Feds threw him in the slammer on trumped-up charges so Mike can begin the investigation). Initially Sara despises Mike, but he soon charms her, as he’s charmed the rest of the town. There is danger, and a lot of romance; Sara favors ladylike dresses and Mike swings down from ropes to save her. Mike eventually reveals to Sara the truth of his presence in Edilean, but by the time she learns Greg is really murdering Stefan, she’s fallen for Mike. Sara and Mike begin to realize that everything points to the ownership of Brewster Lang’s farm. Greg had desperately wanted it, but Tess has instead (through her husband’s estate) gotten Mike a lifetime lease on the place. What is it about the farm? It’s not the few pot plants old man Lang grows, it’s not the historic buildings—could it be the Federalist tea set? Mike convinces Sara they need to marry for her protection (but could the hardened Mike also be in love with Sara?). In wedded bliss they are ready for the return of sociopathic Greg.
Bodice-ripping romance is coupled with all the suspense of a Scooby-Doo episode.