Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Perfect 10: LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER by Toni Blake

A Perfect 10
Avon Books
ISBN: 978-0-06-142988-0
June 2008
Contemporary Romance

Moose Falls, Montana – Present Day

Lindsey Brooks's fiancé dumps her after her seduction attempt in high heel stilettos and an apron goes awry. She decides to go lick her wounds in a small town her Aunt Millie has lived in for over thirty years. Lindsey feels guilty because she lost touch with Millie, who, last summer before she died, wanted to will Lindsey her old canoe livery where people rent canoes to take out on the lake. But Lindsey was busy being engaged and writing an on-line blog and syndicated advice column called Love Letters, so she forgot to respond. Now she has come to Moose Falls to see if she can buy the livery back and figure out what went wrong with her love life. If she is such a failure in love, how can she continue to hand out advice?

The owner of the livery, Rob Coulter, is a hermit and a scary guy, or so some of the townspeople try to warn Lindsey. Lindsey is not one to give up, and since she drove all this way to the middle of nowhere, she is not leaving until she talks to Mister Mysterious. When Lindsey finally meets Rob, things don't go that well at all because Rob is rude and a bit mean. Even though she wouldn't mind getting back on the old sex horse with moody lumberjack man, she will try to figure out a way to get on his good side.

Rob just wants to be left alone. Not even this city girl who seems a bit flaky, but very cute, will convince him otherwise. But, Lindsey, or Abby as he now calls her because of her advice column, is Millie's niece, and Millie helped him through so much. So, he decides to allow Lindsey to walk in Millie's shoes, so to speak, and let Lindsey see old pictures and take her hiking. As things progress between the two, Rob begins to enjoy having Lindsey around more and more. Even his dog King brightens up whenever she stops by.

Rob makes the mistake of getting a look at Lindsey's leopard print bra, and he has no choice but to kiss her. Who would have thought he would have a leopard underwear fetish? Maybe it is just the woman wearing the sexy ensemble that makes him go crazy? Lindsey is now definitely back on the sex horse, as she calls it, with Rob, and things are amazing between the two, but Rob is so secretive about his past. Plus, there is this little thing that irks Lindsey. Rob has a tattoo over his heart with the name "Gina." Who is Gina, and why won't he tell Lindsey about her?

Will Rob ever explain the LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER he has written? That is the key question that Lindsey raises among others in this funny, emotional, and very sexy romance by Toni Blake. Lindsey is a city girl who wants to discover her connection to her deceased aunt who comes to mean so much to her. Rob is an added bonus, and it's really cute to see him succumb to the charms of his Abby. These two have one scorching love affair, and the love scenes are some of the best I have read this year. The mystery that surrounds Rob is a well-written one that will keep readers guessing. And when you find out what Rob has gone through, you'll want to wrap him in your arms, much as Lindsey has done.

The town of Moose Falls seems like its own character and is very vital to the story. The townspeople are a quirky bunch but a joy to read about, such as Carla, the bartender of The Lazy Elk Bar and Grill who becomes Lindsey's new friend; Eleanor, who runs The Grizzly Inn, and the ladies of the Moose Falls book club. Some readers may even have some sympathy for William, who is such a fan of Lindsey's blog that he becomes obsessed with her. He is not who he seems and becomes important to Lindsey and Rob's future.

LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER was a pleasant surprise that made me laugh out loud, gasp in surprise, and coo over the major loving between Rob and Lindsey, who can't keep their hands off of each other. Toni Blake has written a near perfect novel and rightly deserves RRT's Perfect 10 award.

Kate Garrabrant

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