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Lucy Bragg is a goddess and she knows it. How can she not? She’s beautiful, smart, well-connected, and so disgustingly rich that she can buy anything she can talk her Daddy Rathe into -- when Mommy Grace is not looking. Born and raised in 5th Avenue, and worshipped by her hordes of instantly, violently infatuated suitors from her perfect little world, she is New York at its finest and what she wants, she wants immediately. When her parents’ engagements delay their departure for Paradise for her Grandpa Derek’s surprise 80th birthday celebration, impatience strikes and she, dragging her sidekick, Joanna, along, decides to go ahead of her family, evades her chaperon, buys a car she doesn’t know how to drive, and promptly winds up in the middle of the Texas desert with a broken axle and a nasty-looking man carrying a saddle.
Shoz Savage is annoyed and makes certain she knows it. He’s smart, tough, hard-working, and a box-office superstar in many, many women’s deepest, darkest fantasies, and what does he have to show for it? A lifetime of racist cruelty against him by the small-minded, a seven-year jail time for a crime he has yet to commit, more jail time for breaking out of prison, gunrunning, and just that morning, it almost broke his manly heart to shoot his poor little horse after it broke his leg. Now, this spoiled brat expects him to be so overwhelmed by her many upper-crust charms that he’ll just drop down and fix her car, minutes after she drives straight into a pothole, trying to ignore his signal to ride with them. Leaving them to their well-deserved comeuppance is tempting, but he’s not walking further in the sweltering desert heat when he can manipulate his way into a free ride and snuggling with her. It is hate at first sight, but here in God’s hot Texas nowhere, they’re just man and woman getting wild -- after a little persuasion.
Ruined and furious by his indifference after their almost-glorious night, Lucy determinedly buries her one great indiscretion and embraces her life as it should be with a vengeance. When her partner-in-crime shows up in Paradise and house-works his way into her grandparents’ good graces -- and systematically wrecks her life on the side, pride demands that Lucy pulverize him into oblivion with her millions, but her increasing desperation is fueled by more than fear of exposure. Shoz is her own private torture, threatening her self-control as he flits in the outskirts of her life, taunting her with her impropriety -- and tempting her to revel again how good their passion can be.
When a horse theft and a jealous ex-lover’s anonymous tip unveil his checkered past and leave him wounded and in jail for stealing Derek’s prized horse, Shoz grasps his unexpected chance at freedom by taking Lucy hostage and dragging her to his one refuge, the Sierras. In the vast isolation of the looming mountains, the wary pair finds unlikely allies in themselves as they face her powerful family’s relentless pursuit, comfort in their shared solitude, and an unexpected friendship and deepening affection slowly stripping them of their desperate defenses against the world.
The Fires of Paradise is a wonderful story of self-discovery and of a love transcending the bounds of race, wealth and rank -- a gentle reminder that love lurks in unexpected places and, although the road might be rough and treacherous, happiness is never that far away for those brave and determined enough to reach for it.
This review was written by my book buddy, Lyn. ^_^
The Fires of Paradise is Book 5 of Brenda Joyce's Bragg Family Saga. To find out more about Brenda Joyce and her books, click below: