Cross My Heart
Lacey Kincaid is the owner of Odd Jobs, a “handy person” business performing tasks for harried people in New York City. Her employees do everything from dog walking to house cleaning and running errands. Her life and business are going well, she is even considering a proposal from another NY business person, Alex. She hasn’t been able to make a decision; something just seems to be missing in their relationship, but she can’t quite figure out what.
Lacey is amazed when Tyler Benson bursts into her life, reminding her that she has unfinished business in their hometown of Hawken’s Cove. Lacey is really Lily Dumont, who supposedly perished in an auto accident ten years earlier. Lily was fleeing her abusive uncle, who was trying to get her to sign over her estate to him. Uncle Marc placed her in foster care with Tyler’s mother, along with a foster brother, Daniel Hunter. When Lily was afraid of being returned to her uncle, the trio staged an accident that gave Lily a chance to flee to New York City and start a new life.
But now her uncle is trying to have her declared dead so he can take over the trust fund that has been held in her name all these years. Ty convinces Lacey that her parents would have wanted her to receive the money and that she has to return home to confront Uncle Marc. Though the chemistry between Ty and Lacey is immediate, they are both afraid to see where the attraction would lead. But Lacey quickly realizes it is the passion she has with Tyler that was the missing element in her relationship with Alex.
Lacey’s other foster brother Hunter is now a a lawyer, and he helps Lacey to discover that the trust fund will be hers on her 27th birthday – which is three weeks away. But as Lacey waits for her birthday to arrive, a series of attempts are made on her life. A combination bartender/P.I., Ty guards Lacey as they work with Hunter to feret out the stalker/killer. The sexual tension between Ty and Lacey is believable as they cautiously explore their relationship. But each of them tends to draw back each time they get close to committing to each other.
Cross My Heart has a secondary romance between lawyers Daniel Hunter and Molly Gifford, whose mother is engaged to Lacey’s Uncle Marc. Hunter is a foster child who struggled to overcome his roots, but he is never quite as secure as he wants the world to believe. He went to law school with Molly and she always turned down his tentative attempts to ask her out. They cautiously began a relationship with each of them knowing that it is the truth about Marc Dumont motivating them to get together.
I really liked the characters, especially Lacey/Lily and Ty. The sexual tension between them was real, and Ty was a bad boy in the best traditions of romance – just enough of a rebel to be extremely attractive. Lacey is such a strong heroine; she had to be to survive her past. There is a lot of very witty dialogue between Ty and Lacey that added to my enjoyment.
Molly and Hunter were also interesting, but they are the reason I gave this book a B- instead of a B. Hunter is obviously going to be the hero of another book and the lead-in and unfinished nature of his relationship with Molly was extremely heavy-handed. Molly also acts like a complete idiot, and I frankly hope Phillips finds a stronger heroine (who isn’t whiny) to pair with Hunter. The obvious foreshadowing of the next book diminished slightly my enjoyment in the happily everafter ending for Lacey and Ty. But I certainly enjoyed Cross My Heart enough to read Hunter’s story anyway.