Family Matters
By Dottie
Oct 16, 2010 - 9:46:10 PM

Kerry McBride, an aspiring artist, teaches art to high school kids to make ends meet.  Her parents, both archaeologists, took off for parts unknown when she and her four siblings were young, leaving them with her grandmother and grandfather at the age-fifty-plus planned community of Lakeside Village.  Although children were not allowed to spend more than brief visits at Lakeside Village, her grandmother had fixed that.  According to her grandmother, all it took was getting her Irish up and threatening to share many of the local scandals.  Their grandfather has since passed away, but her Irish grandmother, Maeve, is as feisty as ever and still raising her two youngest brothers, Brody and Collin.

Matthew Lawrence, an attorney, is the son of one of the other Lakeside Village residents, Olivia.  Olivia is also a close friend of Kerry’s grandmother, and proud of her son, she has been espousing his virtues to everyone.  However, he has a habit of using the teachings of his law school professors in his private life, as well as, in the courtroom.  This does not work with Kerry.  Matt is also not happy about the special attention Kerry’s uncle is paying to Matt’s mother.


With only one more day of school left, Kerry is eager to start packing for her dream-of-a-lifetime trip to Europe, where she will be spending the summer.  She had been chosen for an art fellowship.  Once before she had been chosen, but had to give to up to help her family.  She’s determined to go this time.  She has not even told her family about it yet due to her fear of jinxing the trip.


Listening to her messages, she finds that her Uncle Brendan has left an ominous one, forcing her to make the three-hour trip to find out what is going on.  Her uncle was known for his crazy schemes, but she is not prepared for what she walks into.  Arriving at Lakeside Village, she discovers that a meeting is going on and her uncle is facing off against a very angry stranger, Matthew.  It seems that her uncle has bought Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated amusement park, using the residents’ money.  For some of them, it is their life’s savings.  Matthew wants his mother’s money back, as well as, all the other residents’ money.  All of Lakeside knows that her Uncle Brendan is one of the eccentric MacBride clan, yet he has managed to persuade them to participate in his latest scheme.


When Kerry tries to get him to give the money back, he admits that there is no money left.  Arguing with Matthew, Kerry finally gets him to agree to give her sixty days to get the park ready to sell, so they can get the money back.  Although he tries to be charming, he is also treating her as he would someone in the courtroom that he has on the stand, and she is not buying it.  They are unable to be in the same room without arguing, although sparks fly between them.  It seems as if they are being thrown together more than normal, but they cannot deny the sparks, especially when out of nowhere, he kisses her.  However, it seems that she will have to give up her dreams once more for her family.  In order to get the amusement park ready in time, she will have to forget her trip to Europe.  But will she be able to have the park ready for sale within the time limits she has agreed on?  Worse, will she be able to resist the hot lawyer, who is sticking way too close to her as he helps her with renovating the amusement park, and the family connives ways to get them together?


FAMILY MATTERS is a warmhearted contemporary romance that had me rooting for Kerry and Matthew to get together.  Both of them had problematic childhoods that they needed to get beyond, but they also have a wonderful support system in their families, students and clients.  Matthew only has his mother, as his father is a con artist, and a delightful newspaper lady who had been his client once.  But Kerry has the boisterously Irish MacBride clan and her students, especially JJ, an abused ex-gang member who is a very talented artist, although she seems to be the one who attacks their problems and solves them.  As they help each other come to terms with their pasts and their present, they fall for each other, but Matthew is having a hard time overcoming his father’s example…until some new information comes to light.  Delightfully enriched with humor, well-drawn, charismatic characters, a wonderful plot and loads of love, this story will touch your heart.  I look forward to reading more by this very talented author.

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