Desert Isle Keeper
Taming the Night
Paula Detmer Riggs is one writer who has never disappointed me. I have all of her Silhouette category novels and have enjoyed each and every one of them. When I read one of her books, I know I can expect a story that engages me and characters who are memorable.
Taming the Night is a book that has everything I ask for in a contemporary romantic novel. An exciting storyline, memorable main characters, supporting characters who actually play an integral part in the story, and a romance that is not overshadowed by the action.
We meet the heroine, Summer Laurence, in a prologue when she is seventeen – pregnant, and accused of drug possession with intent to sell. Her family has abandoned her, a slimy prison guard has propositioned her and the evidence all points to her guilt. Her only hope is the undercover cop who is the father of her child – and the prosecution’s star witness.
Sixteen years later Dr. Summer Laurence is looking for a place to start a group drug rehabilitation facility. Dottie Hollister, a charmingly eccentric older lady whom Summer met at a workshop, offers to rent her a large ranch at a nominal fee. While Summer is checking out the facility, she meets Dottie’s nephew, Sheriff Brody Hollister, who is dead set opposed to her plans. Brody hates drug addicts like poison and believes that rehabilitation is a waste of time. Brody has reason to hate drug addicts – one killed his wife years ago and he has lived a lonely life ever since.
An attraction between Summer and Brody develops even though both of them initially resist it. If you love tortured, complex heroes, you will adore Brody Hollister. Brody’s childhood was horrible – his more-macho-than-thou father constantly belittled him because of a bad stutter, and his mother called him a whiner when he cried. Brody dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and joined the Navy. There he found a purpose in life and Megan, who loved him. Her death at the hands of a drug addict has embittered Brody to the point of misanthropy.
Summer has been to hell and back. She is estranged from her family, has a felony record, and has had her baby taken from her. Now she is a professional – a psychologist. Ms Riggs does a wonderful job of portraying the still insecure person under the professional exterior. Despite her education and air of confidence, Summer is as wounded and full of pain as Brody. If a character wallows in undeserved angst, it often irritates me, but Summer and Brody’s problems are real. They don’t wallow in angst, they truly suffer.
Taming the Night has many strengths, but one that I particularly want to mention is the wonderful cast of secondary characters. These are fully realized characters with a real part to play in the story. They are not just cardboard props who stand around and mouth dialog.
Please don’t think that this book is totally grim. Yes, it is intense and realistic, but it is not a downer. The message in Taming the Night is that love is real and powerful. Love is not a cure-all and will not make things wonderful and fine immediately, but it can give a person strength to face adversity. Both Brody and Summer had had to face their problems alone. Now, they may still have problems, but they are together and love each other and that love will give them what they need.