by Wendy Lindstrom

April 2005
ISBN: 0-8439-5506-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

Fredonia, New York

December 1873

Young widow Claire Ashier had thought she had left all the bad times in her life behind her once she was free from the nightmare of her marriage to tyrannical Jack Ashier. Moving to Fredonia, New York, where no one is aware of her painful past, Claire has turned her late grandmother’s home into a boarding house, but who will stay here, what with the noise and ruckus going on in the saloon across the street? Claire is almost destitute, and down to her last few dollars. Enough is enough! Alcohol was the main cause of Claire’s problems with her late husband, and she is not going to let it continue to ruin her dreams of an independent life. Claire decides to give saloon owner Boyd Grayson a piece of her mind. What she did not count on was losing a piece of her heart, because rakehell Boyd happens to be one of the handsomest, most charming men Claire has ever encountered. Boyd worms his way into Claire's life with special gifts of kindness and by allowing his lovable mutt, Sailor, to stay with her for company. This makes it difficult for Claire to continue in the temperance marches she has initiated.

Youngest Grayson brother Boyd wanted no part of the family sawmill business. Instead, he was trying to make a go of the Pemberton Inn and now it looks like he may just loose it thanks to the temperance movement started by his feisty new neighbor, luscious widow Claire Ashier! Claire’s vow never again to touch lips that had touched whiskey seemed to go right out the window with one soul-searing kiss from the seductive Boyd! Both found themselves in a no win situation. Claire wanted Fredonia alcohol free, and if that happened, she could lose her new found relationship with Boyd. An even bigger complication into this already mixed up matter was that Claire’s life is being threatened and only Boyd can protect her that is if the stubborn Mrs. Ashier would only let him.

A subject that is rarely seen in historical romance, Lips That Touch Mine by RITA award-winning author Wendy Lindstrom deals with not only alcoholism, but also abused women. A sequel to Wendy Lindstrom’s earlier stories about the Grayson brothers, Shades of Honor, and The Longing, Lips That Touch Mine can stand on its own. Therefore, if you have not read the first two, it will not make a difference; you should be able to follow the story and the characters. However, this book can seem long and unnecessarily drawn out. Claire and Boyd hardly spend much quality time together. When they are in each other’s company it is usually with other characters, or Boyd is trying to save Claire from someone’s fist. With a promising start, and a different twist to it, Lips That Touch Mine does have some redeeming qualities, but the overall romance between the hero and heroine almost takes a back seat to everything else.

Reviewed in April 2005 by Bonnie.

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