Gabe was a delightful book for a hot summer day. While I love a good long book that takes days to finish, sometimes I simply want to be entertained for a couple of hours and Gabe fit the bill perfectly. Although this mini-series featuring four brothers is called The Buckhorn Brothers, the brothers in question are not named Buckhorn. Buckhorn is the location – a small town in Kentucky near a resort lake. I happen to live close to Barren River Lake in Kentucky myself, and the atmosphere and setting are very realistic. I was so pleased to find a book set in my home state.
The brothers themselves are the best thing about this book. Lori Foster knows how to write believable male characters – I have four brothers and I know guy behavior when I see it. The four brothers, Morgan, Sawyer, Jordan, and Gabe are actually half-brothers, and they are deeply devoted to each other. Of course the brothers do engage in a lot of squabbling, posturing and fighting that is realistically male – you ought to hear two of my brothers fight about which is the better jet, the F-15 or F-16. But underneath the macho posturing is bedrock family loyalty. This sense of family closeness and committment is a feature of all of Lori Foster’s books and it’s one I absolutely love.
Gabe Kaspar is the youngest of the brothers. He is nice looking. No, he is very nice looking. Oh heck, he’s so handsome he is practically a tourist attraction. Gabe is a skilled craftsman and an all around nice guy. When someone needs help, he helps. When someone needs something fixed, he fixes it and whenever he shows his face, the women line up to look.
One day while he is fishing at the dock and being lusted after by a couple of women, Gabe is approached by Elizabeth Parks. She wants to interview him as part of a graduate thesis she is writing on heroism. A while back, Gabe saved two boys when a drunken boat operator almost killed them while they were swimming. Gabe’s says he is no hero – it needed to be done, so he did it. No big deal. End of story. But Elizabeth is persistent. Before she knows it, Gabe has made a deal to trade a kiss for a question and the starchy Elizabeth is well on her way to becoming the relaxed and happy Lizzie.
Elizabeth and Gabe are polar opposites. He is relaxed, she is tightly wound. He acts, she analyzes. He is used to women being struck dumb at the sight of his studly self. She is immune to his charm. Yet they turn out to be quite well suited for each other – odd as it may seem at first glance.
Elizabeth’s interest in the psychology of heroism dates back to an incident in her childhood for which she blames herself. She has been scarred, but not too deeply, by this incident and the good natured, easygoing Gabe is just what she needs. Elizabeth’s seriousness is good for Gabe as well. Although his family and friends love him, they have a tendency to look on him as only the handsome baby brother. They begin to take him more seriously when they see him through Elizabeth’s eyes.
Series romances take a lot of sometimes well-deserved heat for being nothing but cowboy and baby books. I am in charge of the series titles at my local Waldenbooks, and just when I think the publishers believe there are no states east of the Mississippi river and no occupations where you don’t need to ride a horse, along comes a book like Gabe. I think when the next book in the series comes out, I’ll drive over to the lake, sit in the shade and read it.