by Nina Pierce, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.75, ISBN 978-1-59578-451-3
Love's Bounty is the second book of Nina Pierce's series The Tilling Passions. I haven't read the previous one so I think I can safely say that Love's Bounty can stand alone since I can understand this one just fine.
Deirdre Tilling is currently making unhappy faces and muttering to herself under her breath because her ex-girlfriend Brianna had waved goodbye to her two months or so ago... by the way, Deirdre is getting a boyfriend here rather than a girlfriend, which I feel is a pity given that there are so few lesbian romances right now in the erotic romance landscape and making Deirdre a bisexual only to give her a bloke for a beau feels like a wasted opportunity. But given that I understand lesbian romances cannot sell, I can understand why a bloke is necessary in this story.
Anyway, back to the story. Dierdre decides to get over her self-pity and she will start by attending a friend's party and hoping to indulge in some happy whoopee with a guest. Ayden Scott, our hero, on the other is an undercover DEA agent hoping to get to know the locals better and uncover any lead to a drug-importing ring. Hmm, why is it that every other romance story set in Maine invariably turns out to have drugs involved in one way or the other? A prime suspect will show up at the same party that Deirdre will be attending, which is how those two meet each other. When Dierdre inevitably strikes up a professional relationship with this suspect, she's definitely going to be seeing Ayden more often. Heh, I almost said that Dierdre will be seeing more of Ayden, but she already did by that point, if you know what I mean.
Love's Bounty is interesting in that while this is a novella, it is a well-balanced one. The suspense doesn't overwhelm the relationship and vice versa. Ms Pierce wisely gives just enough details to keep the story going. The author is practising a judicious kind of economy here with her words that makes this novella feel complete and well-paced. The characters are developed well enough to give me the impression that they are two-dimensional types and the romance develops just as well enough to convince me that if they aren't in love by the last page, they will one of these days.
A most readable novella indeed, this.
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