April 3, 2009

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Ella Varner thinks she has the perfect life: she has a job she's good at as an advice columnist for a magazine, a nice vegetarian boyfriend and she's far away from her troublesome mother and kind of screwed up sister Tara - both of them live in Houston while Ella lives in Austin - however, on a random night Ella gets a call from her mother, telling her to come to Houston right away to take Luke, her sister Tara's newborn baby boy whom Tara left at their mother's house before disappearing (she ends up going to rehab).

Since her boyfriend Dane doesn't want anything to do with kids, not even on a temporary basis, Ella sets off by herself to Houston where, upon meeting Luke and having her heart stolen by him, Ella decides to stay for a while and find Luke's father so she can get some security for her nephew. The prime suspect in the "Who's the Daddy?" game is Jack Travis, a wealthy man who dated Tara around the time Luke was conceived.

The Travis family is quite powerful in Houston, but Ella still manages to meet with him and demand a paternity test, to which Jack agrees even though he's 100% sure Luke isn't his. Still, he's drawn to Ella and helps her find a place to say - first at a hotel and then at a Travis' owned apartment in the same building where he lives - and helps her take care of Luke (SPOILER, If this is a deal breaker for you, no the he isn't Luke's father SPOILER).

The book is good, Ella is likable and smart and has plenty of reasons why she is the way she is; yet her relationship with Luke is adorable and sweet. Jack has many traits of a macho-man but he's also a very caring individual, and he likes to fix things - sometimes he can be a bit overbearing but he means well and he's smart enough to recognize Ella can take care of herself even if he wants to take care of her.

I felt Ella and Jack's relationship was nicely developed. And I was also very glad to see characters like Liberty and Gage, and Hardy and Heaven, they are there but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they didn't over power the book with their presence, instead it just felt like visiting with old friends - in a frame that worked for the story.

In the end, I think that people would like or dislike this book according to how they feel about certain plot points (like the secret baby plot and Jack's alphaness and Ella's problems), personally, I liked it.


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