Blue Bayou is an uneven read even as it is well-written. The plot and characters were annoying at times, but I still wanted to finish the book. My overall impression is that author Ross has a reservoir of talent that wasn’t particularly well represented with this story.
Jack Callahan, bad boy of Blue Bayou, has returned. He is now a successful DEA agent turned famous author. So what if he has to drink himself to sleep each night because of nightmares from his DEA work? Long ago, Jack was in love with the “nice girl” of the town, Danielle Dupree. Her daddy, the judge, didn’t approve to say the least. However, after Jack left town the judge got himself indicted and sent to prison. Jack has bought the judge’s plantation and Dani’s old home, Beau Soleil.
Dani has also come back to Blue Bayou to lick her wounds and re-establish her life. Her politician husband ran away with a younger woman and then got himself killed. Dani’s father is ready to be released from prison, and for her son’s sake, she wants to develop a relationship with her distant and domineering father that she never had growing up (doesn’t she listen to Dr. Laura?). She doesn’t realize that Jack has also returned.
Jack and Dani truly loved each other once, but now secrets and misunderstandings lie between them. Dani believes that Jack abandoned her when she needed him. The situation was more complicated than Dani ever knew. When these two do meet again, the sparks are still there, but because of their mutual distrust, neither wants to get involved again. Of course, some actual communication between the two would have the situation cleared up nicely, but that is not the romance novel way. Jack does worm his way back into Dani’s heart, and her son Matt thinks he walks on water. It should be smooth sailing, but because of past secrets, Dani and Jack are in for some serious problems.
Jack is the classic tortured hero extraordinaire who is healed by the love of a good woman. After Dani arrives, all his past problems suddenly disappear. I had a problem with that. I also had problems with Dani, because she perpetuates The Big Misunderstanding. When Jack does come clean with Dani, does she bother to reciprocate? Of course not!
In other ways, though, Dani is a strong person. Anyone who grew up with such a horrible father can be forgiven a few problems. Speaking of the old man, the judge was this book’s real downfall. There is no sympathy to be had for him after it becomes clear what he did to the young couple. Readers won’t care whether the judge was framed or guilty of his crimes; he deserved to rot in prison. In my mind, neither Jack or Dani should have forgiven him, period.
Even though this was an uneven and, at times, annoying read for me, I will probably look for the next books in this series. The other Callahan brothers, Finn and Nate, showed definite promise in this installment. I’ll hope for improved heroines for them, and rotters like the judge nowhere to be seen.