Her Sure Thing
by Helen Brenna
(Harl. Super Rom #1725, $ 5.50, PG) ISBN 978-0373-71725-5
***
Here is another entry in a series about Mirabelle Island in the upper reaches of Lake Superior. It is summer and life is filled with tourists and those who come for the enjoyable climate and nostalgic feelings.

Sean Griffin had come to Mirabelle for a fresh start. An emergency room doctor in a major metropolitan hospital was his dream at one time. As one in a long line of doctors, it was also what his father and his family expected. But Sean was lonely and realized that he needed more. He had always loved horses and discovered that Mirabelle Island gave him the opportunity to provide the community a service as their doctor and to fulfill his hidden dream of owning his own ranch. He took over the practice of the long-time doctor and bought the stables from a retiring long-term owner. He has the best of both worlds, except he is still lonely.

Sean finds out that his teenage son is going to come visit for the summer and he knows that will fill one void. However, since he just recently discovered he even had a son, he is also nervous. He doesn't have a clue how to be a father and he definitely has unresolved feelings about having been excluded from his twelve year old son's life. Austin is also angry, having grown up thinking his "father" was the man married to his mother. It was only as their marriage was ending that Austin found out the truth. He had been involved in some rebellious activities and now his mother is shipping him off to some isolated place with a man he doesn't even know. Things are not looking promising.

Grace Kahill was known the world over for her face and body. She had been a major player in advertising and modeling. She had married her agent, thinking they were after the same things. But their love life had never been good, her ex cheated often and one night she was involved in a car accident that burned her arm and part of her torso. One look and a prognosis of "scarred for life" and the ex was gone. Grace grew up on Mirabelle and had done nothing but figure out a way to make her aunt's life hell and to figure out how to get off of the island. Her parents had died and she grew up thinking her aunt resented having to raise her. When she left, many on the island were just as glad to see her go as she was to go.

She is back, at least for the summer. Her horse has been sent and she is sure that the owner of the stables, an old friend from long ago will allow her to board her horse. She is vastly surprised to discover that that old friend has retired and the new owner is not what she expected. They get off on the wrong foot and she finds herself kowtowing just to get her horse a place to stay. Sean senses pain and hurt in Grace, but he too is in a transition period. It is only after he slowly gets to know Grace that he can see beyond his aggravation.

Grace first shows her vulnerability around her horse. Then she befriends his son. Finally she slowly reveals her injuries. Sean is impressed with her resilience and her caring nature. Grace meanwhile finds herself attracted to a man for the first time in a long time. She also realizes that he makes her feel things she has never really felt. As both they and the town go thru some major transitions, they slowly fall in love. Austin and Sean slowly figure out their relationship and the town learns that Grace is more than just that troublesome girl from years ago.

Her Sure Thing is part of a series, yet there are enough autonomous sections to the story that reading the prior stories isn't needed. One does get the feel for the series and many may choose to seek out previous stories. There are a few side stories thrown in that point to future tales too.

Sean and Grace have some depth, which makes their story interesting and engaging. I struggled with Austin's age, as he acted as an older teenager much of the time. Otherwise, there is a nice sense of Austin and Sean learning to find a relationship amidst quite a traumatic time of their lives. This is a story worth spending some time on.

--Shirley Lyons


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