Friday, September 4, 2009

Review: Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen

Who said, "you can't go home again?" In Veronica Davis' case, who'd want to -- especially when you hail from Fossil, Washington. But now she's back among the good-ol' boys who think she's fair game just because she's in a waitress uniform.

The truth is, Veronica's the boss -- at least until she can sell the family saloon and skip town again as fast as her feet can carry her and nobody knows that better than Cooper Blackstock. From behind the bar, the ex-Special Forces Marine sees all. And his undercover agenda has made the feisty boss-lady's troubles his own.

And her troubles are considerable, what with a family in turmoil, a pseudo-bartender with dangerous secrets, a murder investigation, and death threats. Though the town surprisingly rallies in support, it's still a good thing that Cooper will be there to catch Veronica if she stumbles -- if he doesn't start falling himself.
This is the second book by Susan Andersen I read and the better of the two by far. I'm not quite sure why I looked it up, especially since my first experience with an Andersen book was not a total success. I certainly didn't choose it because of the cover... but the blurb caught my attention and I decided to give it a chance. 

Veronica (Ronnie) and Cooper are both in Fossil, Washington for the same reason -- Ronnie's sister Crystal was murdered and her husband Eddie, who is on the run, is the suspect. Ronnie's return to town a few weeks after the funeral to see to her sister's business and to take care of her niece Lizzy is necessary, but something she's dreading for more than the obvious reasons. The truth is that Veronica left Fossil and didn't have any intentions of ever returning. She has a chip on her shoulders about working in the family saloon and the last thing she wants to do is set foot in the "Tonk" again. 

Cooper was hired to be the new bartender and manager of the Tonk by Marissa, Ronnie's childhood friend. He has his own secret reasons for being in Fossil and he's not about to let Veronica or his emerging feelings for her get on his way. Cooper is now renting a room at Crystal's home where Ronnie will be staying with her niece while in town. This set up throws them together and the stage is set for the romance and the nightly romps to begin.

This couple seemed to be big on making assumptions about each other. Early in the book Cooper assumed that Ronnie was just as trashy and easy as her sister, and I was glad that he got over those assumptions quickly. Ronnie on the other hand was big on judging Cooper by his looks and his job as the manager of the saloon... frankly, that went on for a bit too long. She seemed to see only what she wanted to see. Our heroine was not big on paying attention to detail. They both carried a lot of baggage from their childhood that needed to be resolved and turned out to be the biggest conflict between them. Neither seemed able to let go of pre-conceived ideas or old hurts. 

As secondary characters go, Marissa is the one worth mentioning and the best developed. She has her own romance going on in this book and as a widow with two children, some unique romantic problems. Although this story arc was interesting, it didn't really add to the central story. However, Marissa and Ronnie had that wonderful relationship and dialogue between best friends that can enrich a book. I loved the interaction between them and in that respect Marissa's character was a great addition.   

The murder plot was really kept in the background and it was not the focus here -- the romance was central. The resolution to the murder was used more as a device to reach that happily ever after. 

Head Over Heels had some excellent snappy dialogue I found very entertaining. Ronnie gave as good as she got and Cooper was no slouch either. As a couple, they had chemistry and I liked them together. This is really what kept me reading and the fast pace made it a quick read. Overall I found Head Over Heels to be a good read with a likable couple who worked for their happily ever after by getting to know each other in more ways than one. 

ETA: Sorry, this part was cut off the original post.

This book is part of a series:
Head Over Heels (Marine, Book 1)
Getting Lucky (Marine, Book 2)
Hot & Bothered (Marine, Book 3)
Coming Undone (Marine, Book 4)

You can visit the author here.

6 comments:

  1. Great review Hils. :) I've never read this author but this book sounds like a possible starting place. :)

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  2. Leslie, I have a few books by Anderson on my list and this one gave me hope. She's one of those authors I've been meaning to read, so two down. :)

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  3. Hmm, I don't know about this book. I like Ms Andersen books most of the time, but not her earliest...

    I liked Marissa's side story :D

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  4. Nath, I had a problem with the first one I read, so I understand what you mean. I liked this one better, though. Marissa's side story was an interesting one, I agree. :)

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  5. What was the first one you read?

    I like the border around the banner.

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  6. Thanks, nath. :)

    That first book was Baby, I'm Yours. Don't know if you read it? Bounty hunter, twin sisters -- one a school teacher and the other one a showgirl -- and a road trip.

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