A Single Kiss
Grace Burrowes has stepped out on me (or rather her readership) and dipped into the contemporary sub-genre of romance, and the genre is better for having her writing represent it. I have been a fan of Burrowes since reading her first historical and I have read every one since, so anything she puts out is an auto buy for me. When I saw she was publishing a contemporary, I was definitely intrigued and jumped at the chance to review this book. Ms. Burrowes is usually excellent at character development and A Single Kiss is no exception. If you have felt the dearth of quality writing in contemporary romance lately, please give Grace Burrowes’ new book a try.
Twenty-seven year old Hannah Stark is one and one half house payments away from destitution when she interviews with the law firm of Hartman and Whitney. After surviving on temp jobs since her graduation from law school, Hannah is hoping to snag a full time position with long term security. There are three partners in the firm and they are all brothers: Mackenzie, James and Trenton Knightley. Hannah is most interested in the corporate law position, but the firm has a greater (and temporary) need in domestic relations. The last area of law Hannah is interested in is domestic relations, but when the job offer comes she cannot afford to turn it down. She and her seven-year-old daughter Grace need to eat. When she reports to work for her first day, she meets Trent Knightley, the head of domestic relations and her new boss.
Trent Knightley is a single dad with full custody of his seven-year-old daughter. He has not been in a relationship with anyone for several years since his ex-wife threw him for a loop when she divorced him and moved to Australia. When he meets Hannah he feels the first stirrings of romantic interest since his divorce (despite her severe dress and standoffish attitude) and he does not waste a lot of time in pursuing her. Trent catches on pretty quickly that Hannah is gun shy when it comes to men so his wooing is both respectful and subtle. Slowly, but surely Trent begins to win her trust.
Ms. Burrowes reveals the character of Hannah bit by bit and we discover a very damaged young woman who has also shown resilience in rising above her upbringing. Orphaned at the age of three when her adoptive parents were killed in a car wreck, she has spent most of her life in foster care. Her experience with the system has made her both distrusting and cynical and the thought of spending time in the system that failed her makes her stomach churn. But the partners reassure her that the domestic relations post is only for a few months and then she can transfer to the corporate law division. The author does a wonderful job of portraying both the intricacies of the domestic relations court and the inadequacies of that system when it comes to children. With all of the books by Grace Burrowes I have read, how did I not know she is an attorney? Her background shows here as she writes about the legal profession with credibility but in an accessible manner.
If we were writing one of AAR’s Dreamboat blogs, Trent would definitely qualify. He is almost a perfect beta hero. He shows compassion, humor and restraint. He is willing to wait for Hannah to trust him before he makes a romantic move. His role as a single father and the way he treats his daughter makes him a very empathetic character. Hannah is a little harder to like at the beginning, but as her history is revealed my heart ached for what she had been through. Trent really is her knight in shining armor and brings color to her black and white life. There is some intrigue among the character driven narrative that brings the couple closer together and a bad guy who fits the bill without being stereotypical. And the child characters are a hoot and fully fleshed out.
The only quibble I had was the ending. It just seemed a little too abrupt to me and that kept this book from residing on the DIK shelf. However, with two more MacKenzie brothers in the law firm, I am looking forward to reading their stories.