by Kathleen Long

November 2005
ISBN: 0-8217-7849-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Who wouldn’t give anything to start over once in a while in life, with a completely new identity and background? After Cherry Harte wins the lottery, she does just that. She moves to Mystic Beach, Florida, with her sister Liz and starts life completely fresh. Cherry is determined to form a new identity for herself, an identity that will remove her from the infamous Harte family of New Jersey.

Unfortunately, just as she’s about to make her big debut in the Women’s League of Mystic Beach, Cherry’s car breaks down. Forced to go to a mechanic, Cherry meets the charmless and grouchy Luke Chance. Though he’s very sexy, he’s also got a big chip on his shoulder against all rich women, especially women of new money. From the moment he meets Cherry, he is determined to dislike her, even though she’s got a certain intriguing look about her.

Their sizzling attraction only grows more complicated when Luke and Cherry discover they are both in the running for the Framingham Estate. Luke wants to build a youth recreational facility. He’s got a personal interest in the project and will do anything in his power to have it built, even at the expense of the Women’s League’s horticultural center, which he thinks is definitely not needed in the Florida community. With Cherry and Luke at odds over the estate, it seems that there is no hope for their mutual attraction to go anywhere.

As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, Cherry’s erstwhile father shows up claiming he needs to protect his daughters from a man named Moose. Suddenly, the life Cherry has worked so hard to escape from is back, bigger and more dangerous than ever. However, with an unwilling ally in Luke, along with a cast of wacky Mystic Beach residents, Cherry will surely be safe. Who knows, she might even fall in love with Luke. In Mystic Beach, just about anything can happen, and definitely does in Kathleen Long’s latest story.

Cherry on Top is a warm-hearted tale of a woman just trying to make a better life for herself. She certainly never expects to have that life include love, but much to her surprise, she strikes it rich in more ways than one when she wins the lottery. Cherry faces her zany life with uncertainty at first, but as she comes to accept that she’s a great person as she is, her confidence in life, love, and family grows in leaps and bounds. Luke shines as a fallen reporter determined to discover just what makes Cherry so irresistible to him. The citizens of Mystic Beach add their own unique flavor to this story, making Cherry on Top a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Ms. Long’s creative voice is definitely in evidence in this sweet romance.

Reviewed in October 2005 by Sarah.

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