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4.2 out of 5 stars
Head on
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2007
Beth Ann Decker has worked hard to lose the title of Official Tragic Figure of her small Texas hometown since that long ago night when a terrible accident killed three other teen-aged cheerleaders and left her crippled and scarred. She survived the surgeries and physical therapy, and has proved herself of worth as a hospice nurse, helping the terminally ill and their families deal with death. Now the gruesome murder of a loved one has her using all her knowledge to deal with her own grief, and the entire population is back to calling her "Poor Beth Ann."

The other driver in that fateful wreck, Mark Jessup, has grown up. He has built both a financially successful and philanthropic business and is raising his son alone, hopefully in a home with more love and support than he received as a boy. Now Mark has returned to Eudena to care for his dying father, the very man who disowned him sixteen years before when he proved himself worthy of the town's bad boy label of "Hell On Wheels" by causing the accident that killed three girls, including his own sister.

Mark did his time for the crime, and has become a better man through the grief of his actions. While he feels he is foolish to hope for his father's forgiveness, he knows he must try, even if it means bringing his mixed race son into the bosom of the conservative Texas Bible Belt. While willing to handle any aspersions the town might throw at him, even the suspicion of a horrible murder, he will not tolerate the least bit of disrespect toward his child.

When Beth Ann shows up with her cane at his door to administer care to his father, both must deal with their memories and their grief. And when the underlying attraction of their earlier years collides with the passion that ignites between them now, Beth Ann knows it is not pity that she sees in this man's eyes, but only the heat of desire.

But what would someone do to avenge the past or to hide the dangerous secrets that would destroy them? A small town web of deceit and fear threatens to end not only the fragile bonds of Mark and Beth Ann's budding love, but their very lives, including the life of an innocent five-year-old boy.

Colleen Thompson has created a spine-chilling story with realistic and frightening plot twists and two powerful characters, each finding their own truths in those of the past. Fast-paced yet sweetly sensitive, this story will have you glued to its pages. Enjoy!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Beth Ann Decker's life changed with a terrible accident. She was in a car with three other fellow cheerleaders, and they were hit by another car. Her friends were killed, and she was left crippled and scarred. What was really scarred was her whole life. What followed was endless surgeries, endless days of physical therapy and the endless pity of the small Texas town that couldn't seem to let go of the terrible memory.

Now years later, Beth Ann works as a hospice nurse, easing the final days of the terminally ill. But tragedy comes to call again, sending Beth Ann to deal with the grief of the present and the past.

The driver of the original accident, Mark Jessup, also survived the crash. He's now a rich businessman and a single parent. Mark returns with his son, to the small town of Eudena to care for his failing father. It's not a joyful homecoming. Mark and his father never got along, and after that fateful night when three cheerleaders died, his father washed his hands of Mark. See Mark not only caused the death of three young women, one of them was his sister.

Fate comes full circle when Beth Ann is sent to help ease the final days of Mark's father. Beth Ann had once held a crush for Mark, but all the memories¯good and bad¯crash in on her as Mark opens the door. Worse, she is sad that he sees before him a woman who is less than perfect. Only, Marks sees the woman beneath.

In a small town were memories are long and grievances are never forgotten, the past arises once more to haunt Mark and Beth Ann. Someone has decided that the time for payment has fallen due for past sins.

Thompson gives a realistic portrayals of people whose lives changed on a flip of the coin, of people struggling to build a future from the rubble of their past. She weaves the small town mentality, suspense and romance into a heady mix, which keeps the reader spellbound.

Very highly recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
Head On has the sort of "ripped from the headlines" feel that one encounters when hearing tragic events played out on the local news. One always wonders, "What ever happened to the survivors? How did they learn to go on?" Head On answers that question in a gripping, suspensful, sexy and emotionally entrancing read. I couldn't put it down. There are so many elements in this mix: grief, tragedy, forgiveness, lust, revenge, gossip, even a peek at racism in a small town, and all of these elements are handled with the skill of a master. Ms. Thompson's ability to create an evocative setting and then people it with characters you won't want to let go of will be the reason readers will find themselves sitting up late at night, turning pages when they should be asleep. Head On is one great book. I'm looking forward to the next one, as Ms. Thompson just keeps getting better with every book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 23, 2008
The two survivors of a deadly collision find themselves face to face after 16 years. Beth Ann is a hospice nurse who comes to care for the dying former town patriarch Hiram Jessup, who gave up on life after his wife died soon after his daughter's tragic accident. Mark is the former bad boy who was behind the wheel of the other car and spent time in jail, but has continued to feel the guilt of destroying his family. He has returned to reconnect and care for the dying Hiram, much to his father's unyielding displeasure and has brought his mixed race son to a racist town to get to know his grandfather. When Beth Ann's mother is found viciously murdered, all eyes turn to Mark, despite the fact that he is now a wealthy and successful businessman. Soon Beth Ann and Mark are forced to confront the event that altered their lives forever, while fighting the attraction that continues to bind them as her memory of the fateful night starts returning and someone will do anything to keep her from learning a long buried secret her mother appeared to take to the grave.

Thompson weaves a suspenseful and very heartbreaking story about love, loss, corruption, redemption, and forgiveness. The slang and bubba dialect was a bit distracting in an otherwise pretty good story, but the characters are well drawn, particularly secondary characters like young deputy Damon Stillwater - who wants to prove he can crack the case. I could have lived without the details and introspection of the killer - or as the person is referred to in the story "the appointed one," it got almost as annoying as all the slang. I really liked how Thompson did not wrap this one up in a happy red bow where everyone lives happily ever after - the tragedy that was central to the story set the tone and I thought that the conclusion was fitting for a fractured town that continued to be in mourning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2014
I enjoyed the story line and suspense. But the only draw back for me was it was a little tawdry in some parts. Wish it has been a little cleaner
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2007
As a fan of Ms. Thompson's previous work including Fade the Heat, Heat Lightning, and The Deadliest Denial, I believe she really hits her stride in Head On. With all the thrills and fearful stalkings, with chilling peeks inside a criminally insane mind, Head On is also a poignant, layered story about forgiveness and redemption. With richly drawn characters, each with their own cross to bear, and a setting on the lonely high prairies of Texas, Head On delivers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2015
Rather amateurish writing and though the concept was interesting there were too many silly coincidences to keep me going. I could have written the ending half way through. I've waded through worse but read many much better.
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on March 21, 2008
Beth Ann Decker is a hospice nurse in Eudena, Texas. For sixteen years she has strived to overcome the title of "Poor Beth Ann". A title given to her after a gruesome accident that left her severely injured and three of her friends dead. She was made stronger and learned to live with the past hanging over her head. Now her future, thanks to a murder, has been thrown into a state of utter upheaval.

Mark Jessup is the black sheep of Eudena, Texas. His own father has not spoken to him in the sixteen years since the fatal car accident. He has come home to attempt to make peace with the only family he has left in Eduena, his father. He has made peace with himself and grown into a stronger human being. It does not, however, make it easy for him to go home again.

In a town as small as Eudena, memories survive longer than people do. Memories of football victories and life altering accidents survive the longest. Can Beth Ann and Mark survive small town gossips, their own memories, intruders and murder? Can they move forward to the future?

The first chapter of Head On draws the reader into a tale of heartache, intrigue and the "joys" of small town life. It develops into a tale of forgiveness, acceptance and personal responsibility. Head On looks at the result of what effect an accident can have on the victims and their families even sixteen years later. Colleen Thompson gives you all the clues you need to figure out what is going on, then throws you with a climax that you just don't see until it hits you.

Emma
reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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on May 29, 2014
All stemming from a tragic fatal automobile accident 15 years earlier. And centered around the sole survivor from one of the vehicles involved, as well as around the driver of the other vehicle involved. The one charged with the crime of killing so many, who had left town after spending 3 years within the prison system. Who has returned to town upon learning of his father's impending death from brain cancer. Whose arrival neatly coincides with the brutal murder of the mother of the other survivor, the girl forever scarred by that accident, who has devoted her life to easing the town's dying members by providing hospice care, the one thought of as an angel on earth. And throughout the other's visit, violence within the previously sleepy town escalates. Misguided decisions, dating black to the accident, are gradually and forcefully revealed.
All while the one accused of causing that fateful accident remains present resent in this formerly quiet and peaceful community. It all fits: he must be responsible for all that's happening, right? Or is he???
Find a comfortable chair and be prepared to not put down this exciting book until you have reached the end. I have shared but the tip of the iceberg.…
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HEAD ON was a phenomenal read. One of my pet peeves with some romantic suspense novels is that they are often unbalanced--conspicuously short on the romance aspect of the story and very big on the suspense part. But, not so with HEAD ON. It had sensual heat carefully woven into the fabric of the thrilling, suspenseful story based in a small southern town with lots of corruption. What a winning combination when it all comes together in a well-written romantic suspense book such as HEAD ON. The heated sexual encounters ain't skimpy either!! Miss Thompson is an author with considerable talent and, this book should be on your TBR list. This is my second time reading one of Miss Thompson's books---she is now on auto-buy for me.
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