Do bloodlines or love lines create the strongest, truest families?
The latest from prolific, multicultural romance writer Ray (With Just One Kiss, 2012, etc.) offers an intricately twisted family tree, lots of plot maneuverings, but few surprises. The book opens with young, unmarried Christine James giving birth. The father of her child is a no-good, married scoundrel, and her parents immediately give the boy up for adoption into a loving family. Fast forward 38 years. Dr. Cade Mathis is a tough, gruff, brilliant neurosurgeon. He is also gorgeous, as family advocate Dr. Sabrina Thomas quickly notices. Cade and Sabrina, of course, lock horns over Cade’s brusque treatment of a patient. Despite their antagonism, neither Cade nor Sabrina can stop thinking about the other. Adopted and raised by an emotionally abusive father, Cade has spent his whole life proving his worth to others and avoiding relationships. For the first time in his life, Cade begins to feel that he could love a woman. Sabrina herself survived a meth-addicted biological mother, who burned her so badly that Sabrina remains scarred with skin grafts. Adopted and raised by a loving, nurturing family, Sabrina has nevertheless shied away from men. Yet she cannot stop herself from pursuing Cade with picnic lunches in the cafeteria, bouquets of flowers, assurances of his worth, until he cannot resist her advances. Meanwhile, Sabrina’s best friend Kara is trying to escape her own disparaging mother, who demands all of her attention, all of her financial support, while offering only criticism in return. Could Tristan truly be interested in buying her paintings, or is her mother right that he is only interested in one thing? The romances proceed quickly until Kara’s mother goes one step too far and Sabrina’s mother makes a startling revelation.
Despite its unconventional tinkering with family trees, this romance remains lackluster and predictable.