I always thought that JAK's series romances were quite strong on the romance between the main couple. But when she branched out into bigger books. Well. The relationship took over. But I doubt if many readers understand what I'm talking about.
This is a perfectly acceptable rom-sus. With the exception that, unusually for JAK, I thought the villains were a truely loathsome family. I quite enjoyed the juxtaposition of the hero's relationship with his own father compared to Ryland's relationship with Victor. In a way this novel is all about decent versus degenerate patriarchs.
The heroine is a small-town journalist. And at first I despised her actions in blabbing about the death of her former friend to her employers. But it all came good in the end.
There is quite a high body count in this story. Personally. I think JAK does Marine stories better than Lora. I though it weird how Luke's family at first see Irene as some sort of unstable gold-digger. Irene came across as a very capable person. Looking at her from the outside I could almost describe her as a ball-breaker. Except that she was very nice to Luke. At the core of this rom-sus is a very sordid child-abuse plot.
I enjoyed Luke's laid back approach to running a hotel. I appreciated the author's skill in despicting Luke's time in the Marines without naming the country whilst leaving absolutely no doubt in the readers mind of exactly where he'd seen his action. JAK has always had a tendency to depict her main couple as the 'homeliest people in the room' and this novel is no exception to that trait.
I chose to read this story because I'm desperate for some good contemporaries. This book was completely acceptable although, as I said, a little light on the emotional side.
The main reason why I stopped buying JAK was because, a few years ago, I found that I was rebuying novels that I already had (in my attic) because the publishers were re-titling old stories. That type of thing annoys me intensely.