REDWOOD BEND reviewed By Kathy Altman, USA TODAY
Genre: Contemporary romance
No longer content to live so far away from the only family she and her 5-year-old twins have, Army widow Katie Malone packs up her boys and heads to Virgin River, Calif., for the summer. She hopes to find somewhere nearby to settle — somewhere kid-friendly but not too close to her overprotective brother. After months of hiding out on one side of the country while her brother laid low on the other, waiting for his chance to testify against a murderer with mob connections — a chance that never arrived because the mobster was killed the morning of the trial — Katie and her boys desperately need some safety and stability in their lives.
Which means the very last man she should want to become involved with is the former teen actor whose adolescent antics put every other bad-boy celebrity to shame. Especially when the grown-up version is still dangerously charismatic — and decidedly anti-commitment.
Dylan Childress gave up the Hollywood lifestyle long ago — or, rather, his grandmother yanked him out of it after his best friend died of a drug overdose. Eventually, Dylan found his true passion and majored in aviation in college, then started up a charter pilot service.
But business in Payne, Mont., isn’t good, and while he and his partners are on a cross-country motorcycle tour, he decides to check out local airports for ideas on how to save his company. Then he meets the sassy and irrepressible Katie, who’s more impressed with his motorcycle than she is with him, and Dylan can’t help but wish he didn’t come from such a spoiled, irresponsible, commitment-phobic family. Because if ever he’d consider making a forever kind of promise, it would be to Katie and her boys.
But his genes guarantee that the only “long term” he’s capable of is the kind you find in an airport parking lot.
Redwood Bend was a joy to read! Every interaction between Katie and Dylan crackles with tongue-in-cheek humor and sexual tension, and Katie’s twins offer their own authentic and heart-stealing moments of frustration and fun. And, of course, adding a delicious under-layer of angst is the seemingly insurmountable conflicts keeping Katie and Dylan apart — he’s not a forever kind of guy, and even if he were, his life and his livelihood are three states away. Not to mention the fact that Katie’s a package deal.
All Katie wants is to matter to someone. And all Dylan wants, though it takes him longer to admit it, is a family of his own. But Katie refuses to let Dylan use his relations’ problems with monogamy as an excuse to break her heart. In fact, she doesn’t let him get away with much of anything. At the same time, he’s opening up a whole new world for her — and seducing her, despite her reservations, as he haltingly connects with her boys. I really enjoyed her voice — she can be nosy and a bit of a nag, but her frankness makes for some delightful banter. Let me share some examples.
This snippet occurs after Dylan and Katie first meet. He and the “motorcycle gang” he’s touring with stop to help her change a flat tire:
“You have a couple of stowaways,” he said, glancing into the car.
She peeked into the SUV. A couple of sets of identical brown eyes peered over the backseat. “My boys,” she said.
“You don’t look old enough to have boys.”
“I’m at least fifty now,” she said. “Ever been on a road trip with five-year-old twins?”
LOL. This next snippet is from my favorite scene, when even though he’s resolved to avoid temptation, Dylan can’t help searching out Katie. He’s just gotten off his motorcycle after driving up to her cabin:
She gave herself a lot of credit for not sharply inhaling at the shock of his good looks. He swaggered toward her, peeling off his gloves. He had that swagger thing down; it was probably due to the constriction of the tight jeans around his hips.
And a few pages later:
I just Frenched a movie star.
Can you see why I smiled most of the way through this book? Well, except for the part with the disgruntled bear.
Appealing characters and a fresh and heart-tugging twist to a familiar conflict, coupled with what-did-she-just-say? dialogue and a cozy sense of community, all help make this latest installment in the Virgin River series a true romantic getaway.
Kathy Altman is a soon-to-be-published author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Washington Romance Writers (WRW) and is also active in the online Harlequin community. Her website is KathyAltman.com.
Sue’s Comments: check out all the reviews on Goodreads –
I thoroughly enjoy the Virgin River series & every gosh darn moment I can spend there . . . I want to move there & open a book store, “VIRGIN BOOKS”.
REDWOOD BEND was everything I had hoped it would be and after having not read the last couple of books in the series reading REDWOOD BEND only made me voracious for more VR!! Carr just keeps on getting better & better!!
QUESTION – if you were going to open a business in VIRGIN RIVER, what kind would it be? — every week 5 winners are chosen to win a FREE book – winners announced on Sunday – good luck!