Along Came Trouble
Readers often complain about the abundance of seemingly perfect heroines in so many romance novels. That’s definitely not a problem here. In this second entry in the author’s Camelot series set in the fictional college town of Camelot, Ohio, both the primary and secondary heroine are prickly, strongly independent women. At times I found their strident efforts to be independent annoying. Despite this, I can recommend this book. Ruthie Knox’s writing strikes a chord with me that allows me to enjoy books, even when the lead characters are at times irritating.
Ellen Callahan moved from Chicago to Camelot when she married a professor at the local university. The couple divorced over two years earlier while Ellen was still pregnant. Ellen fell in love with the town and stayed on with her young son and has slowly built a life for herself. While Ellen still loves the town, she’s unhappy with the havoc her famous pop star brother Jamie brought to town on a recent visit when he had an affair with Ellen’s pregnant neighbor. Things quickly went south and Jamie left town. But paparazzi are now everywhere, trampling Ellen’s plants, invading her privacy, trying to get photos of Ellen and her neighbor Carly.
Ellen is busy fighting off yet another photographer who’s invaded her lawn when Caleb Clark comes to her aid. Ellen has seen Caleb around town but has never met him until he chases the photographer off her property. Ellen’s attracted to Caleb right away, but wants nothing to do with him when she learns her brother hired Caleb’s security firm to protect Ellen and Carly. Yep, this is where the feisty, prickliness comes in.
A lifelong military man, Caleb is a take charge kind of guy and rubs Ellen the wrong way when he tells her he’s going to surround her property with a fence, change her locks, and install motion-sensing lights. Ellen wants none of it and the two butt heads repeatedly over security issues, with Caleb just as stubborn as Ellen. But the chemistry sizzles between the two and Ellen quickly decides there’s nothing wrong with having a hot fling with Caleb.
While the primary relationship is between Ellen and Caleb, there’s also a strong secondary relationship between Ellen’s brother Jamie and her next-door-neighbor Carly. Although Jamie doesn’t appear until late in the book, he does some marvelous groveling and growing in an attempt to win Carly back.
Caleb’s the easiest of the main characters to like. In fact, he’s almost perfect. He’s returned to Camelot to help his family and there are interesting sub-plots regarding Caleb’s relationships with various members of his family, most notably with his father and mother.
It took me longer to warm to Ellen; at times her stubbornness regarding Caleb’s security precautions came across as stupid. But I understood her reluctance to get involved with Caleb in a true relationship. Ellen’s built a life for herself as an entertainment lawyer in a town she loves. She’s still dealing with the fallout from her failed marriage, trying to rebuild her self-confidence, and is afraid to make another mistake.
I’ve heard so much buzz about Ruthie Knox and seen so many votes come in for her in the last Annual Poll that I jumped at the chance to review this book. I’m very glad I did. While not perfect, I really enjoyed this and found myself reading late into the night to find out what was going to happen.