This is the third in the author’s Serendipity series featuring the Barron brothers of the fictional upstate New York town of Serendipity. I had no problems reading it as a standalone, but definitely don’t feel compelled to go back and read earlier books in the series since there was nothing remarkable about this one.
This book features Dare Barron, a police officer with a troubled past. Dare’s had a thing for Liza McKnight since he was 15, but he has kept it hidden. In fact, it was hidden so well that I’m not convinced the two ever exchanged words in high school. The source of Dare’s dark past is related to an incident during high school involving Liza’s brother Brian. Dare went to a party at Liza’s house when he was 15, hoping to see Liza. But she wasn’t there. Instead, something horrible happened, something Dare’s carried with him all these years.
Dare hates Brian and would prefer to have nothing to do with him. Unfortunately, Dare sees him all too often as Brian is notorious drunk who is repeatedly arrested – and released – for a string of offenses. In Dare’s mind, Brian believes his wealth earns him special privileges.
The only times Dare sees Liza are when she comes into police headquarters to bail out her brother for his latest arrest. Dare thinks Liza is enabling her brother and tells her so, not exactly behavior designed to endear him to Liza. A series of events throw Liza and Dare together, forcing them to admit a strong, mutual attraction. Well, a strong physical attraction, because for most of the book that’s all I saw between the two. Dare’s hot. Liza’s hot. They think each other’s hot, and have really great sex.
Liza is the classic “poor little rich girl.” Her wealthy parents have always favored her brother over her. She learned never to count on anyone from an early age. Her life seems easy in comparison to Dare’s life in foster homes after his parents died, but I found myself liking Liza a bit more than Dare. Liza at least seems more consistent in her behavior. Every time the two would start to get close, Dare’s hatred of Liza’s brother would flare up. At one point late in the book Liza comments that she just can’t take the push-and-pull of their relationship anymore. Frankly, I reached that point a long time before Liza did.
I found it rather disconcerting when the epilogue switched focus to the perspective of one of Dare’s brothers. Frankly, I needed a strong epilogue, or better yet, a few more chapters, to convince me that there was more between Dare and Liza than a physical attraction.
Perhaps if I’d read the previous books in the series I might have felt more of an investment in the Barron family. As it stands, I don’t care that much. I do find Dare’s teenage half-sister (being raised by one of his other brothers) interesting. But probably not interesting enough to venture back to the town of Serendipity should the author eventually feature her as a heroine. Once was enough for me.