The fourth entry into Carrington's "The Magnificent McCoy Men" series features youngest brother David, a precinct cop who chafes against teamwork and has the reputation as a Casanova. He fulfills this reputation by picking up a sexy woman in the local cop hangout bar, leading to surprising results.
Kelli Hatfield has just moved back to her hometown of Washington, D.C. after three years in New York. She is the only child of a high-ranking police officer, Chief Garth Hatfield. Despite his profession, he did not want Kelli to become a police officer. Kelli felt compelled to join the force,
partly so she could try to solve the murder of her mother years ago. Known for her sensible ways, Kelli decides to spend her last night before her new job by having a one-night stand.
David is quickly taken by the gorgeous woman playing pool. He challenges her to a game and they end up at her apartment for a night neither of them expects. The next morning, David meets Kelli, his new partner, but a very different Kelli than the night before. She wants to forget that anything happened, but he doesn't want to lose the first woman with whom he has every really connected.
Watching a Casanova handle the change from playing the field to pursuing the one woman who matters to him is usually fun. This story does not disappoint. Kelli is independent and capable of taking care of herself, but David's protective instinct kicks into high gear when she volunteers to work undercover as bait for a sex crime murderer. Kelli gets a job as a clerk in a sex toys and video shop called "Adult Indulgences." The scene where David, who is more conservative than his image would suggest, makes a surprise visit to the store is very funny.
The character of Kelli is particularly well drawn. Her need for closure concerning her motherís death as well as her need to prove her abilities to her father explains her strong desire to be independent. David is a more typical hero; the ladies' man who turns into the overprotective man when he finds the woman who finally catches his heart. Kelli's ability to keep him unbalanced fuels a good portion of the action of the book.
Several secondary characters are involved, as is one overly obvious twist. Kelli's last name is Hatfield and David's name is McCoy so there has to be a family feud! Garth Hatfield and Sean McCoy, David's father, started out as partners in the police force, but have not spoken for many years. None of the children know the reason for the feud, only that there is one. The explanation for the feud comes out in the end and surprises everyone. The feud is fine but I just wish one family had a different name because the Hatfields/McCoys have been done to death.
You Only Love Once is fast-paced and humorous, yet with a tense, dramatic ending. The brothers and their families from the previous books make several appearances, so anyone who has read the first three books get a glimpse of their continuing stories. Only one more brother to go!
--B. Kathy Leitle