Finders Keepers

Author: Michelle Monkou

Publisher: BET Publications LLC

Release Date: June 2003

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4

Format: PRINT





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Brad Calverton, successful hospitality industry critic, is very much in need of a rest from work, and a soothing space in which to recover from the shock of being callously dumped by super model Shaunice. On the recommendation of a friend, Brad retreats to a quaint bed and breakfast in a peaceful community outside of Washington, DC, run by the attractive Nicole Montgomery. Nicole's business is fairly new, a passion she discovered after dealing with and surviving cancer. While she has accomplished much with the property, the house admittedly needs more work - the leaky ceiling in the bedroom assigned to Brad, for example. Brad's arrival in the midst of a late autumn thunderstorm certainly sets the tone for his first night's stay, which does not go overly well. He is forced to cut his stay short due to an unexpected business meeting, and after his departure, Nicole is horrified to learn he is a well known hospitality industry critic. Certain that she is facing a scathing review that will ruin her business, Nicole manages to convince Brad to come back to the bed and breakfast and give it a second chance. In the meantime, realtor Audra Washington has other plans for Nicole's business. A constant thorn in Nicole's side, Audra has been trying to convince Nicole to sell the bed and breakfast. Unbeknownst to Nicole, Audra is involved in a nefarious scheme to force Nicole to sell, and she just happens to be a friend of Brad. As Brad and Nicole's feeling for each other grow, will they be able to survive Audra's scheming and Shaunice's attempts to get back into Brad's life? And just what is Brad's involvement in Audra's plot to put Nicole out of business?

Michelle Monkou has created rich and vibrant characters in this delightful tale. No matter how fleeting the appearance of a character, I felt as if I knew what the individual was like. We are shown Brad's caring nature as he volunteers to coach troubled teens in his local gym, his humor, his sense of over responsibility, and the pain he carries from being raised as a foster child. We see Nicole's need for privacy, her stubbornness, courage in facing and overcoming cancer, and her willingness to go after what she wants, from her commitment to her business to her admirably forthright approach to Brad, both in and out of the bedroom. Nicole's closest friends are opinionated, at times frustrating, and always fiercely loyal and supportive of each other. Even the nefarious Audra has some suprising complexities to her character.

 

The relationships between these characters are complex and varied, and I found myself becoming quite involved in their lives. I found myself cheering for some people, hissing at others, and at one point in the story I was torn between wanting to see what would happen next and not wanting to discover the results of the underhanded tactics being employed in the scheme against Nicole's business.

 

Michelle handles topics such as cancer and foster care in an honest yet sensitive manner. Through Brad and Nicole she shows that the trauma of such obstacles can be healed, and life can be rich and rewarding. Brad and Nicole's tale kept me reading, enjoying their first thrills of attraction, a few misunderstandings, some satisfyingly uninhibited encounters in the bedroom, and their growing feelings for each other. I found myself eagerly anticipating how they would resolve the apparently insurmountable issues that were building between them, and found - well, you'll just have to read the book to discover what I found!

 

I recommend FINDERS KEEPERS with no hesitation, and look forward to reading future offerings from this talented author.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Pam Sacknea

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