The second in Porter’s Brennan Sisters trilogy focuses on Kit: single, almost 40 and wondering when it will be her turn to have it all.
In the large Brennan clan of San Francisco firefighters, police officers and nurses, Kit, an English teacher at a Catholic school, is the designated good girl. She is the peacemaker, the caretaker and the occasional doormat. Having just ended a long relationship that didn’t include marriage, children or passion, Kit is thinking about adopting a child. This news sits poorly with her conservative friends and family, who want her to do it the old-fashioned way. She would too, but the men out there! First, there is Michael Dempsey, handsome and clean-cut, but their first date is disastrous. He is controlling and crude and then lets drop he’s actually married. Then there is Jude Knight, a mystery man she met while at her family’s Capitola beach house. He has the look of a romance-novel hero (long hair, taut muscles, cheekbones that betray his Native American heritage) but the tattoos and motorcycle of a bad boy, and Kit could never bring him home to her family. A week after their date, Michael Dempsey appears in Kit’s class; he has reconciled with his wife, and his stepdaughter Delilah is now enrolled at the school. Although Kit imagines Delilah’s life is strained (on their date, Michael confessed to hating his mouthy stepdaughter), she has no idea the extent of the abuse; but Jude Knight does: He’s Delilah’s next-door neighbor, and he gets a nightly earful of the fights, screams and punches. When Delilah gets in trouble at school, she calls Jude, and he and Kit reconnect. Will Delilah get away from her abusive stepfather? Will Jude win Kit over? Is naming the romantic hero Knight going a bit too far?
Our heroine’s dangerous romance with the “wrong man” is engaging enough, though Porter’s examination of domestic abuse is too lightly handled.