In The Clear, by Tamara Morgan

>> Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TITLE: In The Clear
AUTHOR: Tamara Morgan

PAGES: 109
PUBLISHER: Self-published

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance

Fletcher Owens is full of secrets.

Few people know he spends his nights volunteering for a Search and Rescue team, saving lives while risking his own. Even fewer know he's in love with his best friend's sister. And since he's not willing to give up their friendship for a chance at something more, that's exactly how things will stay.

Lexie Sinclair has nothing to hide.

The zany daughter, the wacky sister, the quirky fundraiser for a children's charity -- Lexie couldn't hide her true self even if she wanted to. So when her brother's best friend is revealed to be a local hero, she's determined to stand up and prove she's ready to be more than just friends.

Fletcher Owens has been in love with his best friend's younger sister for years, but has always assumed it was hopeless and not worth risking their friendship to find out for sure. And then his 'secret life' as a Search and Rescue volunteer is revealed, and everything changes.

This came highly recommended and I started it with great hope, only to feel my heart sink. It's a really weak start. There's Fletcher’s hiding of his search and rescue activities, which made no sense whatsoever and seemed pointless. There's the reactions from pretty much everyone when this is revealed, which had no relation to how most normal people would react (well, except the 'why the hell have you kept this a secret?' reactions). Also, Lexie initially came across as scatty and silly and generally annoying.

Fortunately, the novella recovered from that rough start quite quickly. Well, Fletcher's secretiveness never did make complete sense, but the focus changed to him and Lexie interacting, and that was just wonderful. Once Lexie realises Fletcher's feelings for her, especially, I felt like my stomach was in knots and I savoured every word.

The characters started making sense, too. I particularly liked what Morgan did with Lexie, how my initial reaction was so close to what she was dealing with from everyone in her life. Everyone underestimates her completely, and she has a horrible time being taken seriously, because anything going wrong is seen as proof that she’d screwed up yet again. One of my favourite scenes is when it becomes clear that Fletcher doesn't see her that way at all, and that he sees the things she's good at, sometimes without even her realising.

Very nice.

MY GRADE: A B+. When it got good, it got really good!


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