Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spotlight Review: SMART GIRLS THINK TWICY by Cathie Linz

Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-22648-3
January 2009
Contemporary Romance

Rock Creek, Pennsylvania – Present Day

Emma Riley returns to her hometown as quietly as she has lived her life since leaving Rock Creek. Emma is a sociologist doing a research project on the revitalization of Rock Creek, what social influences and changes have boosted the town’s star from fading to a center for the arts. One of her most important interviews will be Jake Slayter, once famous as an extreme sports competitor, who doesn’t want to cooperate, telling her his reasons for being there are none of her business. Emma is not the kind to give up easily; she comes from a background of being the peacemaker in a contentious family. Her family is in the middle of planning two weddings at once --- both her talented sisters are getting married. If the stress from being in the middle of her sisters' battles doesn’t kill her, getting Jake to talk should be no problem. Well, not exactly. Jake is the kind of man who makes a woman think about orgasms, even when she knows she is not his kind of girl.

Jake is surprised by his attraction to the intellectual, demure, buttoned up Emma. She is just not his kind of woman --- besides that, she is nosy and wants to know why Jake is here, something he is not about to share with anyone. The more he refuses her, the more persistent she gets, and then she surprises him by defending herself against a nasty character who harasses her in a bar in which Jack is working. That snags his attention and has him realizing there may be more to Emma than meets the eye. He finagles his way into escorting her to her sisters’ weddings and things begin to take off from there.

SMART GIRLS THINK TWICE uses the standard opposites attract plotline to explore the unexpected changes that Emma and Jake face as they return home to Rock Creek. Emma always feels like an outsider in her family, always walking away from the critical remarks her mother and sisters make about her appearance, career choices, etc. I liked Emma because she was smart and had a good sense of her worth. Jake doesn’t mind mixing it up at all; he creates chaos, and his fame gives him a tough guy exterior. He is looking for the family he never knew and a way to deal with the survivor guilt he still suffers from after the climbing accident that took the life of his best friend. Jake needs someone who wants the whole package, not just the famous sexy parts. Ms. Linz wrote about Emma’s older sister, Leena, in BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY, and has written other stories based in Rock Creek. SMART GIRLS THINK TWICE is a worthy addition.

Lisa Baca

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