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Trouble in Texas
by Katie Lane
(Grand Central, $7.99, PG-13) 978-1-4555-1571-4
The story starts with Branston Cates (aka Brant) taking a ride outside of the small town of Bramble. He's comes upon the run down house he's been looking for, Miss Hattie's Henhouse, an infamous bordello. It's the place where his great-grandfather was allegedly killed and a mystery that has infused his dreams leaving him feeling compelled to solve it. Instead of a warm welcome, the current Hens living there greet him with a gun, which so happens to get fired. Not wanting to get caught, for shooting a man, the Hens take Brant and handcuff him in one of the bedrooms.

Elizabeth Murphy is a librarian in Bramble and has a very simple life. She is single, not dating anyone, and enjoys the structure / schedule of her lifestyle. She recently learned that she is a descendent of Miss Hattie and has inherited the house. She's been trying to convince the Hens to leave the house so she can sell it, but they refuse. When she discovers the man they are holding against his will, it's the last straw.

Interestingly though, Brant's brother Beau has offered to buy the house and help the Hens get it back into working order. They want to bring it back to its glory, but open it as a men's retreat, not a bordello. Brant's ok with the plan because it means he gets to dig around trying to find information about his great-grandfather's death and also because he'll get to spend more time with Elizabeth.

Trouble in Texas is the fourth book in Katie Lane's Deep in the Heart of Texas series. Not reading the previous books is a hindrance as the background related to the Cates and their drive to solve their Great-Grandfather's death is not well explained in this book. Brant's dreams are referenced, but it is apparent the detail must be in book three.

The parts of the story surrounding Brant and Elizabeth's developing relationship are well written and enjoyable, but the secondary characters and the other plot lines surrounding them are silly and distracting. The Hens are witty and quirky, although 70 year old women in "scanty negligees" with "bits of wrinkled skin displayed" takes a little getting used to.

Trouble in Texas has its good parts, but the bizarre distractions take over the love story. Perhaps those invested in the series would feel otherwise, but read as a standalone book I cannot recommend it.

--Nichole Howell

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