Beauty and the Black Sheep, by Jessica Bird

>> Sunday, November 14, 2010

TITLE: Beauty and the Black Sheep
AUTHOR: Jessica Bird

COPYRIGHT: 2005
PAGES: 256
PUBLISHER: Silhouette Romance

SETTING: Contemporary US (upstate New York)
TYPE: Series Romance
SERIES: First in the Moorehouse Legacy quartet (I think it's a quartet).

REASON FOR READING: Random pick.

THE FORCE OF THOSE EYES HIT FRANKIE MOOREHOUSE LIKE A GUST OF WIND

But she quickly reminded herself that she had dinner to get ready, the staff of White Caps B&B (such as it was) to motivate. She didn't have the luxury of staring into a stranger's face.

Although, jeez, what a face it was.

And wasn't it just her luck that the owner of that face, Nate Walker--with his rebel attitude and distaste for authority--was the chef her restaurant desperately needed, and he was staying for the summer....

And...it was a bit too tempting to let this breath of fresh air sweep her off her feet. Because all work and no play had been Frankie's motto for much too long!

On a trip to check out a potential site for a restaurant, chef Nate Walker's car dies in the middle of nowhere in the Adirondacks. Planning to ask for help at the nearest house, he ends up offering his when he finds a crisis situation in Frankie Moorhouse's B&B.

Frankie hasn't been having a good year... actually, she hasn't been having a good decade. Orphaned when she was barely out of her teenage years, she took on responsibility for her whole family (including a gran suffering from dementia) and has been struggling to keep the old family home going as a B&B for 10 years.

It hasn't been going well. The formely spectacular house is fast losing its lustre (a ballgown with sweatstains, Nate calls it, which I thought was a very effective image) and there's no money to reverse the process. In fact, it's doubtful that there will be money to pay the mortgage before too long. And the last drop: Frankie's cook has quit without giving notice, she's got a couple of hypercritical guests waiting for dinner and she's just burnt the chicken she was planning to serve them.

When a man comes in asking to use the phone and instead produces some hi-tech chef's knives and proceeds to rescue dinner service, Frankie knows she should be grateful, but she's used to being the one rescuing the situation. Still, the situation is desperate enough that she accepts the help.

Nate is strangely attracted by the prickly Fran, and he figures he might as well stay for a while and make some money, so he offers to work for the Inn for the next few months, just until the end of the summer. Fran has no choice but to accept this potential lifesaver, but she's determined not to get involved.

I find I quite like JR Ward's Jessica Bird persona. The writing is nothing like that in the larger-than-life Black Dagger Brotherhood, but at the same time, it's got the same addictive, absorbing quality that keeps you turning the pages like crazy.

Beauty and the Black Sheep was not my favourite Jessica Bird ever (as the first book in the series, there was a teeny bit too much setting up of the upcoming books), but it was a nice, good romance. Frankie was a character that could have come across as a complete martyr but didn't (much), and the romance between her and Nate was sweet and quite steamy at the same time. Quite enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

MY GRADE: A B.

2 comments:

jmc,  15 November 2010 14:28  

I think I read a follow up book to this one, with tomboy heroine and BDB-lite hero with amber eyes. Had pretty much given up on Ward/Bird entirely, but this books sounds not bad.  Thanks for sharing.

rosario001,  16 November 2010 21:33  

Oh, was that A Man in a Million? The heroine of that one is a sailor, pretty tomboyish, but I'm not sure if it's a follow up to this one. The one I liked best of Bird's is The Billionaire Next Door, stupid title notwithstanding.

BTW, I wish I could give up on Ward, as well, but I'm pretty hooked, even after the pretty disappointing John / Xhex book  :(

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