THE UNEXPECTED AFFAIR - Monica Richardson
Harlequin Kimani Romance
REVIEWER: Janet Caldwell| RATING: A
REVIEW: Can your expectations for the perfect mate be too strict? That is the complex dilemma facing Monica Richardson’s heroine, Whitney Talbot, in THE UNEXPECTED AFFAIR. Richardson doesn’t disappointment her fans of the Bahamas-based Talbots of Harbour Island series by delivering another sweltering island romance.
As evidenced in the entries in this series, the Talbot women are headstrong, independent and determined to achieve whatever goals they set. Their mother gave up her career to raise a family and subliminally instilled in them a strong fervor to be successful. Like her sisters in previous stories, Whitney is determined not to let a man stand in the way of what she wants or thinks she wants.
Whitney is a kindergarten teacher. She harshly judges her men by the “Man Menu” - a guide for the perfect mate developed with her close-knit group of friends in college. Her friends have dismissed the "Men Menu", but Whitney is steadfast that it's the key to her relationship happiness. When she runs into Lane Martin, literally, she assesses his "Man Menu" worthiness and deems him "aite".
Lane is unabashedly a blue-collar laborer who causes Whitney to question her wants and needs. Degreed in Computer Science, Lane elects to avoid the corporate rat race and earns a very comfortable living as a cement truck driver. He is divorced with a son, possesses a mistrust of relationships and lugs around a guilt trip he has nursed since his college days.
Determined not to appear at her brother’s wedding reception at the family's Bahamas resort solo, Whitney invites Lane hoping this truck driver will not disappoint. What the hay, its only for a few days and then afterwards they can amicably part ways … or will it be that easy?
THE UNEXPECTED AFFAIR is primarily set in Dallas, Texas with revealing trips to the Bahamas and St. Louis, Lane's hometown. This novel affords the reader a chance to catch up on the antics of the expanding Talbot clan. Other characters impacting this story include Lane's family and Whitney's college friends. Lane and Whitney's families are vastly different, but each treasure a deep respect and love for family.
I highly recommend this novel. Lane and Whitney, as a couple and individually, undergo transformations that can best be summed up by this statement from Lane's mother, "It's funny how we always seem to find what we're not looking for." Richardson's easy writing style is engaging and keeps the story moving at a good pace. With two single Talbots remaining, I am anxious to learn which will be domesticated next.