Desert Isle Keeper
Millionaire computer nerd Sam Stark has just been left at the altar – again – and while an engagement ring can be returned, those little hors d’oevres can’t. So caterer Desdemona Wainright grits her teeth and walks in with her bill. Stark promptly shocks her with his forthrightness: “Do you think it was the prenuptial agreement?” And so begins one of my favorite contemporary romances. Trust Me is a funny, fun-filled story of two strong-willed people who discover that they can, indeed, trust each other. It’s also a compelling tale about the joys and trials of family life. The characters need and earn not only romantic love, but the love of their families as well.
Since Stark hates social situations, he and Desdemona quickly reach an agreement; she will serve as his social director and society date. While Stark and Desdemona are clear opposites (Stark’s a loner with a troubled childhood, and Desdemona helps support her close-knit family of actors with her catering business), this romance is Not Your Usual Conflict. The conflict in this story is internal to the characters rather than external. In contrast to many heroes and heroines, Desdemona and Stark actually talk about their differences rather than letting them escalate into silly Big Misunderstandings. It was refreshing and endearing to see these characters behaving maturely, especially in a contemporary. No TSTL heroines here either – I love Desdemona’s sensible reaction when she finds herself locked in her office freezer.
In this novel, Jayne Ann Krentz has created one of the most likable supporting casts I’ve ever read. As I said, this romance is also about family, and watching the Wainrights and Starks interact is one of the biggest pleasures of the book. The acting Wainrights are quirky, as one would expect, but they’re also loving and supportive. Every Wainright is named after a Shakespearean character. My personal favorite is Macbeth, the leather-clad babysitter who drives a monster truck. Stark’s young half-brothers arrive unexpectedly, and, much to Stark’s surprise, he finds himself caring about family for the first time in his life.
There is a suspense subplot in this book which was sufficiently twisty to keep me content, though sharp readers will likely ferret out the villain. This subplot also ties into the main story wonderfully when Stark suspects Desdemona’s brother Tony and can’t understand why she continues to defend him – after all, he’s only her stepbrother, right?
Trust Me isn’t the flashiest romance I’ve read. At first, I didn’t even realize it was a keeper – its charms are subtle. But soon I found my mind wandering back to the wonderful, believable characters. Desdemona, Stark, and their families are characters I’ll be happy to revisit anytime.