by Elizabeth Bevarly

April 2008
ISBN: 978-0-425-22085-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Cole Early has worked hard for years to become a top national Thoroughbred horse trainer. He has high hopes for Silk Purse after the horse wins the Santa Anita Derby and qualifies for the Kentucky Derby. Cole will be spending two weeks in Louisville, Kentucky to be part of all the festivities. The only problem is getting accommodations since hotels are booked up a year in advance for Derby Week. Thanks to an efficient travel agent, Cole finds a small house to rent for the two weeks at a premium price. Louisville locals are willing to rent out their homes for Derby Week to turn a tidy profit. Lulu Flannery has been talked into doing this by her friend, Eddie.

Cole and Lulu meet at the realty office, but she doesn't know he is the man who is renting her home or even who Cole is in the horse racing world. Her first impression is of a man who is a jerk who knocks her down at the office. Cole's first impression of Lulu is to dub her Craggedy Ann for her wild red hair and her grumpy comeback after he tries to apologize.

Bree Calhoun is Lulu's best friend. Even though Bree graduated with honors from college with an English degree, she has settled into a job as a bartender. It pays well with tips and all. She needs all the money she can get to help with her mother's failing health. Rufus Detweiler is a friend to both woman, but he has always loved Bree. He is also a bartender who invents exotic drinks with literary allusions. Unfortunately, Bree does not return Rufus' affection. She is looking for a rich man.

The author fully develops all four characters with dialog and narrative that is equal parts of humor and poignancy. We get glimpses into their pasts and emotions that make for a satisfying story. There is plenty of tension and passion stirred into the mix.

Ms. Bevarly lives in Louisville, so her setting descriptions have an authentic feel, though she admits in the author's notes that she has played "fast & loose" with some locations and Derby events. She has a crafted a tale that is absolutely delicious and sure to be a hit with all her fans and make some new ones. I have been a huge fan for quite some time and every new release by this talented author is a "must read" for me.

Reviewed in March 2008 by Roberta.

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