by Anna Jeffrey

April 2004
ISBN: 0-451-41136-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Onyx
Mass Market Paperback

Doug Hawkins comes to Callister, Idaho to lead a quiet life, to get away from L.A. and the memories of the shoot out that ended his career on the force and nearly cost him his arm. Content to work on his new home and to spend his spare time fishing with his best friend Ted, he’s not prepared for the confrontations with Alex McGregor and the fierce emotions they evoke.

Alex is rebuilding her life. Divorced from her good-for-nothing drunk of a husband she enjoys her solitude, her lavish home. A few more successful real estate deals and she will be ready to get away from the hassle of L.A. and spend a quiet life on her mountain property. A man she doesn’t need. Not as a lover, not as provider and definitely not as a protector.

But when her ex-husband ends up dead and a local logger threatens her peace and the value of her property she soon finds herself grateful for Doug, who seems to be the only one, willing to stand up for her. Although wary of this handsome stranger with a shady past she can’t help being drawn to his persistence and caring. And the sexuality he oozes.

Alex is beautiful, but it is her fighting spirit that attracts Doug. And for that and his determination to win her he is the perfect romance hero. Not whining about his past he goes on with his life and does everything right in wooing his object of desire. Flowers, breakfasts, a shoulder to cry on. You’ve got to admire him, especially as Alex is not an easy woman to befriend.

Just as in her previous release, The Love of a Cowboy, Anna Jeffrey creates a heroine, who is hardworking, emotionally scarred, able to fend for herself and afraid to let loose. With too many insecurities she’d give up her dreams of happiness in exchange for financial security. Alex is not perfect, but Doug sure is. Anna Jeffrey’s hero is once more strong, steady and sensitive. Ready to invest in a relationship, to wine and dine his woman. However, even though it is nice to read about characters like Alex and Doug, having read her previous release with the same sort of hero and heroine I would have preferred something a little different.

For those readers familiar with her first release the town of Callister will be a welcome sight. A small town so vividly and lovingly described that one wants to purchase a plane ticket and visit it for real. Some story details might not be necessary and some omissions a little jarring, but Alex and Doug’s romance makes up for those few distracting moments. The Love of a Stranger is not a sequel. But with her upcoming The Love of a Lawman Anna Jeffrey will visit the locals of Callister for the third time. And it promises to be another fine romance.

Reviewed in March 2004 by Kris Alice.

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