Autumn's Eve by Jordanna Boston
(Ponder Romance, $5.25, G) ISBN 0-9681587-1-4
****
Jordana Boston has a flair for comedic writing that shines in Autumn's Eve, her first release with Ponder Romance. And thankfully, there isn't a cowboy, secret baby, or runaway amnesiac bride in the book. Perhaps Ponder is onto something here.

Eve Barron is quite happy running the Last Chance Gas and Grill in Jake's Corner, Manitoba. It's a pretty little town, out in the boonies with no other settlements for quite some distance. Eve left a divorce behind her when she started her new life here, and her dream is a vacation lodge in the wilderness. She has convinced the residents of Jake's Corner to invest in its construction. Only the project has ground to a halt and the funds have run out. The man who holds the promissory notes may be trying to sell.

Enter Dane Newson, of Newson Enterprises. Right away Eve recognizes him as a threat to the project. If Dane meets with the noteholder, he may become the new owner. Somehow the people of Jake's Corner have to prevent that. And what better way than to keep him stranded in their little town?

Dane isn't impervious to Eve. He's quite attracted to her, and when he suffers a car accident, he's happy to move into a room above the Café -- at least temporarily. Eve finds herself just as drawn to Dane, and soon she's wondering if he can truly be such a bad guy after all. Is it really right to keep him an unknowing prisoner in Jake's Corner?

Dane and Eve worked just fine for me. Both are mature characters, acting like adults who are hesitant about giving their hearts but in the end, unable to resist. And their romance is thrown into relief against the screwy characters that inhabit Jake's Corner. One highlight was Jake himself, a curmudgeonly sort who drives an incongruously-named all-terrain-vehicle called Sweet Pea. The mental images of Jake were delightful. Other locals wander in and out, calling Dane by all sorts of wrong names, giving the story color and adding to its charm. They were funny and touching, a lovely taste of small-town Canadian life.

Sex is not really a big part of the plot; a few steamy kisses have to suffice. But there's no doubt more is on the way for Dane and Eve. Autumn's Eve is a delightful read and a fine start for Ponder Romance.

--Cathy Sova


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