Diamond in the rough
That's how I would describe this debut novel by Robena Grant. It's a compelling murder mystery with intense pacing and a sweet love story with just enough sex.
When a determined Dena proposes to be Zeke's PR person for his business that has been hit with press trouble because two bodies have been found buried there, he's resistant:
"He didn’t want to talk about the murders with a woman, any woman, but especially not with one so young and attractive. When exactly had he decided she was attractive? He blew out a gust of air and turned around."
I say it's 'in the rough' because there are passages that could flow smoother but it's a diamond, nonetheless. It had me up all night reading it because I didn't want to stop.
Energetic Dena brings light and love into the life of lonely Zeke as their unfolding love story wraps itself around the dark mystery of who killed Dena's sister, Carli and Zeke's friend, Susie.
“I’m Dena Roman. Zeke’s girlfriend.” She blinked hard as once again her impulsiveness took over. She didn’t care. She stood her ground. “I demand an explanation.”
Stanton glared down at Zeke. “You never said anything about dating anyone—”
“I’m as surprised as you are,” Zeke said, with a flicker of a smile."
The secondary characters are done really well also. I loved the ones I was supposed to love, questioned the ones I was supposed to question, hated the ones I was supposed to hate and went back and forth with the complex ones who did not reveal themselves so easily.
The mystery is solved and the happy couple gets a very believable HEA.
"Irma gasped, gripped her hands together over her heart, and her eyes filled with tears. “Niňos,” she whispered.
Zeke dropped a light kiss on Dena’s lips. “Yes, Irma. Children…and knowing Dena’s enthusiasm for new projects, the Cabrera name stands a good chance to live on, and on—”
This book is the first in her Desert Heat series and I will definitely be going back for book 2, The Blue Dolphin, out now. The third book, Desert Exposure, due out later this year, is sure to be a good read. It was a finalist for the RWA Golden Heart Award.
I enjoyed this book tremendously.