Other JoAnn Ross reviews can be found in the Archives.

Castaway Cove
by JoAnn Ross
(Signet, $7.99, PG) ISBN 978-0451-24000-2
Another in a series, this time a story about Shelter Bay Oregon, JoAnn Ross has written an entertaining feel good story. There is no new ground here and I would imagine that those who have been reading the series will enjoy the tale more than just a casual reader who picked up the book. While the story is fun and well written, it feels familiar to many others in the current trend of small town community stories.

This one features single dad Mac Culhane, a late night radio disc jockey, who is also a veteran. It was his stint in the Air Force, as an on-air radio personality, that destined his marriage to divorce. What he got out of it was some scars from a suicide bombing and a lovely little daughter named Emma. His ex-wife decided she not only didnít want him anymore, but she didnít want her daughter either. So Mac is back in Shelter Bay living with his widowed stepfather (who basically raised him after his real father was killed in a military training exercise). He is also helping to care for his grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimerís and has just been placed in a ďmemory careĒ facility.

Mac is intrigued by a young woman he bumps into there and canít seem to get her out of his mind, when a mysterious caller named Sandy calls in to his show and intrigues him even more. Amazed that he is attracted to two women he doesnít know after so long without any action, he is happily surprised to find out that Sandy is actually Annie Shephard, a volunteer at the facility who is helping his grandfather with saving his memories through scrapbooking.

Annie is a delight with a rather sad past. She is a product of the foster care system where she was never chosen for adoption. Upon her graduation, she yearned for a family of her own, only to get mixed up with an older man who wanted her on his arm in political Washington but had no intentions of starting another family with her. She left with her tail between her legs, especially when she inadvertently discovered that due to an early illness, she will never have natural children. Shelter Bay was where she spent one very wonderful summer with a wonderful family and it is here she comes to hide, recover and figure out how she will go on without a family.

Mac and Annie connect and despite their wary natures, they find they like each other and their chemistry is definitely hot. How they work out their concerns, dating around a ten year old, an Alzheimerís patient, two jobs that are in different timeframes and the small town gossip is an enjoyable story and one that kept me coming back.

Castaway Cove is fun and will engage the reader.But it is easily blends with other stories with similar plotlines and it is for that lack of something to make it stand out that I rate it three hearts.

--Shirley Lyons

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