Dancing in the Moonlight, by RaeAnne Thayne

>> Thursday, February 17, 2011

TITLE: Dancing in the Moonlight (Kindle edition)
AUTHOR: RaeAnne Thayne

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 256
PUBLISHER: Silhouette

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Category romance
SERIES: Part of the author's Cold Creek series.

REASON FOR READING: The Kindle edition was free (it still is, last I checked).

Lieutenant Magdalena Cruz had come home…And though all she wanted was to be alone, infuriatingly handsome Dr. Jake Dalton—of the enemy Daltons—wouldn't cooperate. And she needed him to, because the walls around her heart were dangerously close to crumbling every time he came near.…

Jake had spent most of his life trying to get closer to Maggie, with little to show for it. But she was the woman he'd always wanted, and no injury in the world could change that. Now if only he could convince her that the woman who stood before him was beautiful, desirable, whole…and meant to be his.…
The Daltons and the Cruzes (Cruzs? Cruces, as you would pluralise it in Spanish? Never mind) are the Capulets and Montagues of the small town of Pine Gulch. At least, they are in Magdalena Cruz's mind. Af far as she's concerned, Hank Dalton's greed and lack of ethics led to her father's death, and she can't stand any of those ruthless, arrogant Daltons.

Country doctor Jake Dalton's feelings are completely different. He didn't like his father any more than Magdalena did, and he's always liked Maggie a whole lot. Even after she moved away from Pine Gulch and became an Army nurse, she was always hovering in the back of his mind.

But now Magdalena is back in town. She was injured in Afghanistan, badly enough that she lost a leg, and she's at the point where she needs to figure out what she's going to do with the rest of her life. All she wants is to be left alone and prove to herself that she's tough and can still do all she could do before (except, perhaps, practice medicine), but now that she's finally back, Jake won't stay away.

To me, the whole enemy families thing was probably the least interesting thing about the book. It's as silly as it sounds that Maggie would blame the entire family for the father's actions (although I liked how in the end, Maggie had to understand that things weren't as simplistic as she thought and that she still had a teen's perception of what had happened), but I liked the dynamic it helped create between Maggie and Jake. She is one prickly woman, but she's got reasons to feel prickly and defensive, and rather than want to shake her and make her see sense, I understood her completely.

Jake is a bit too-good-to-be-true, but hey, I swooned anyway. He's determined to make sure Maggie understands she can still have a good life and doesn't have to closer herself off. He's also very persistent in this determination, but not in an overbearing or patronising way. He's just there, whatever Maggie throws at him.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters. Well, Jake's family were a bit "read our book, read our book!" (which I might do, actually), but I really loved Maggie's mom and her uncle Guillermo and her late father. They are not this sort of uniform, all-encompassing Latinos. Unlike too many authors, it's clear Thayne actually understands that Latin America is a pretty varied place. Viviana is Mexican, Maggie's father's family is Argentinian, and although this is not really an issue in the book, to me, it enriched the background a great deal.

I'm not going to say "this was good, for a free book". It was good, period. Grab it while you can!

MY GRADE: A B.

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