by Cissy Hassell

March 2007
ISBN: 0-9767634-9-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Rose Heart
Trade Paperback

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Stephanie is still grieving for her husband a year after he was laid to rest. Everyone was telling her to get on with her life but she couldn’t. She loved her husband and she didn’t or couldn’t seem to move on with her life. So she decides to go to the only place that she felt like herself, to Ravenwood the place where she used to spend the summers with her grandparents.

Ravenwood has been in the Todd family for over 200 years and since her grandfather died it has set empty for about ten years. The house needs minor repairs to it and of course the grounds needed to be cut and flowers planted. When she arrived it felt like she was home, it was relaxing and soothing to her soul.

She is greeted by one of her old and dear friends, Dudley, well greeted is not the right word more like almost ran into each other with their trucks. Dudley had been a friend of her grandparents and she adored the old man. That was just one of the things that brought about her homecoming. The next person she meets is not as friendly or even nice. Dud calls him “dangerous mean”, none other than Batiste.

From the moment these two tangle on the front porch it is more than just words that are thrown and dangerous looks given. Stephanie finds herself attracted to him and it is the last thing she wants. She stands up to him and that is something that very few have the gall to do. She isn’t going to let anyone run her off her property, especially Batiste.

Stephanie isn’t sure what it is about Batiste that has her drawn to him. She knows that underneath all that gruff and his eyes that never seem to have peace, always seemed to be filled with rage or violence, that he does have a kind heart, there is just too much pain and torment in it.

I wasn’t sure what to quite make of Batiste from the beginning. He was rough, gruff and determined to make Stephanie leave. Telling her things was not as they were when she was there before. He could and did show his protectiveness towards his family. He tried quite a few tactics to try to run her off but nothing worked, not even the chemistry that seems to be burning between them whenever they are together. Batiste didn’t take no for an answer from Stephanie, as soon as he touched her she melted.

Undercover of Darkness is full of small town life with some things that only take place when it is dark. It is the darkness that has a lot of people afraid to venture out at night even into their own backyards. It is the trouble that is going on that has Batiste trying to make Stephanie leave. She has worked her way into his heart and he isn’t sure how to get her out or even if he wants to. Only one is the trouble at night but also from the local banker that wants to get his hands on Stephanie’s money.

The story has the one bad boy that everyone seems to pant over but no one seems to have, which in this case is Batiste. Like any small town as well the neighbors drop by whenever they want and several in this story do it more often than others making themselves quite at home. There are several of the characters that I would like to see have their own stories in the future.

If you are looking for a story that will leave you turning the pages to find out what is happening in this small town trying to find out the mysteries that are now surrounding it and the suspicion nature of several deaths and other violent acts then pick up Undercover of Darkness. The story does have some lighthearted moments in it and it shows that love does and can conquer the most hardened of hearts.

Reviewed in April 2007 by Pam.

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