Who's the Boss?
Becca Prescott has a problem. She’s about to lose the home she inherited from her grandmother because the deceased woman didn’t pay the taxes before her death. Since leaving Dallas following her husband’s death to cancer, Becca has been determined to make a life for herself and her daughter in Hidalgo County. But since she’s only working part-time as a teacher’s aide, she has no idea how she’s going to pay the big bill, until she comes up with an idea. Becca formerly worked as a policewoman in Dallas and there is election for sheriff of Hidalgo County just around the corner. Becca plans to run for sheriff (and win), then she’ll be able to get a loan and pay the taxes.
The problem is the county already has a popular sheriff of ten years, Riley Whitaker, and he has no intention of stepping aside, especially to a woman. Because of an terrible event in his past, Riley thinks women don’t belong in law enforcement, especially in his town. Infuriated by Riley’s chauvinism and desperate to save her house, Becca launches a campaign for sheriff that turns the town upside down and the sparks flying in Who’s the Boss, a gem of a novel by veteran author Linda Turner.
Who’s the Boss continues Linda Turner’s long running series of romances set in Hidalgo County. Previous titles include: Kat, Flynn and The Lady in Red. And like those previous novels (all of which I have read), Who’s the Boss depicts interesting characters, intriguing plots and clean, uncluttered prose.
There are many things to enjoy about Who’s the Boss. Becca is a delightful heroine – strong, independent, and passionate. She knows what she wants and isn’t deterred by Riley, no matter how sexy or charismatic he might be. She isn’t the type of woman to forget everything important to her just because the hero walks by in a pair of tight jeans. She may want to be with Riley, but her independence and her career are just as important to her. Refreshing.
As for Riley, he is at first amused and annoyed by Becca, but quickly learns she is a force to be reckoned with and that his job just might be on the line. He is an engaging hero and it was fun watching him being taken down a few pegs because he doesn’t take Becca seriously. It was also nice watching him grow from a man who let his past distort his views on women to one who accepts each one as an individual and doesn’t paint them all with a broad brush.
The competition for sheriff generates a lot of humorous situations as the battle for sheriff turns into a battle of the sexes that envelops the whole town. Even more fun was watching Becca and Riley struggle with their eagerness to win the contest and the growing love between them.
The secondary characters, particularly Becca’s meddling neighbors, add warmth and heart to the novel as they scheme and plot to get Becca and Riley together even though they insist there is nothing going on between them. And despite the light touch that permeates the novel, the author balances it with some compelling dramatic moments, particularly when Riley’s life is placed in the line of fire and when Becca has to deal with watching the effects of domestic violence on a woman she wants to help.
The novel does have a few drawbacks however, both that come towards the end. The Big Misunderstanding (which I won’t reveal here) that briefly separates the two was somewhat contrived and forced Riley to behave out of character. Secondly, the ending of the novel was rushed and the resolution to their problems was a little too pat and convenient.
Overall though, Who’s the Boss, is an wonderful read, a great way to pass a few hours. The author continues The Heartbreaker series in The Loner, which features investigative reporter Sydney O’Keefe, who has a supporting role in this novel. Given that I was intrigued by this dynamic lady, I’ll definitely pick that one up.