The title of Rocky and the Senatorís Daughter may tell the reader who the two main characters are, but it certainly does not do justice to the depth of the story.
Rocky Waters, renowned reporter, has been on a sabbatical from his work since his wife died after being in a coma. He is starting to feel restless and evaluate where he should go from here when he overhears a sleazy-looking woman discussing a new book she is promoting about a past political sex scandal.
The senatorís daughter is Sarah Mariah Jones Sullivan. She is the daughter of Senator J. Abernathy Jones who left office in disgrace over a variety of illegal activities. She is also the widow of Representative Stanley Sullivan. It was he who had been involved in the sex scandal, a series of affairs involving booze, drugs and lots of women. Despite their less-than-happy marriage, Sarah had endured the scandal at his side, only to lose him to a car accident. Now, a few years later, she is hiding out in rural North Carolina, trying to make a life for herself away from everyone who watched her being dragged through the mud.
Rocky decides he should be a nice guy and alert Sarah to the upcoming book, and the publicity which is sure to descend upon her. He had met Sarah very briefly when he was a hotshot reporter and she was a vulnerable 15-year-old being paraded before the cameras by her then-influential Daddy. That vulnerability touched Rocky and is the reason he feels the need to help her avoid more scandal.
Little does Rocky realize the complications he will run into when he finds Sarah at her deceased auntís home in the country. First, he helps run off the tabloid journalists, then he gets involved in fixing up the homestead and finally, he falls in love with her. Sarah doesnít know what to make of Rocky. He is the man she had a crush on those many years ago. Now, he is even more attractive and she begins to love him. But she has troubles and hates to involve him. Her manipulative father and his crony want to force her to live with them and take care of them in their old age. Sarah is also paying what amounts to blackmail to the grandparents of Stanís illegitimate daughter, whose existence Sarah hopes to hide from the world in order to protect the child from unwanted publicity because of the scandal.
Rocky and Sarah are well-rounded characters that you like immediately. They show emotions that you understand and feel with them. When Rocky is protective, it makes sense that he would be protective. When Sarah cries, you cry with her. When they laugh and make love, you cheer. When Sarah shows some independence, you feel good that she is standing up for herself. Yet you applaud loudly when she realizes she needs Rocky and goes after him.
Browning sets a nice pace to her story, intermixing the past in just the right places so the reader understands things, but is not bogged down as she allows her characters to grow. In a refreshing change from many stories, neither character wallows in their guilt or past.
The only downside is the lack of detail given to one of the major sub-plots. The toddler, Kitty, is referred to many times and Kittyís situation is supposed to be a prime motivation behind Sarahís actions. However, for someone like Sarah who is so caring, you wonder why she has not done more before now. This lack of action on her part is a little disconcerting.
I encourage you to sit back, put your feet up and enjoy this Man of the Month selection. I think you will agree there is more to Rocky and the Senatorís Daughter than its name.