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Smooth Talking Stranger: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – March 2, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 277 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Travis Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Finding herself responsible for her troubled sister's newborn son, advice columnist Ella Varner is determined to track down the baby's father so she can get back to her own life. The first of her sister's former dates she confronts is Houston playboy, Jack Travis—who disarms her with his charm and sincerity. Her growing affection for both the baby and Jack throws her ordered life and her relationship with her boyfriend, Dane, into upheaval. Emily Durante provides a polished reading; her voice is smooth and pleasing, but her light tone and youthful manner of speaking would be better matched with a younger character than this book's strong heroine. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 2). (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

As advice columnist “Miss Independent,” Ella Varner thought she had all the answers, but when her sister, Tara, leaves her brand-new baby with their mother and then disappears, Ella discovers that problems in the real world are not quite as easy to solve as those in print. Ella’s mother insists that she come and deal with the situation, since the very idea of her being a grandmother will ruin her social life. When Ella arrives in Houston, her first goal is to find the baby’s father—one of Tara’s friends believes it’s millionaire Texas real-estate developer Jack Travis. When Ella shows up at Jack’s office, she is surprised to discover that not only is Jack more considerate than she imagined—especially since he insists the baby is not his—but way sexier than she thought possible. RITA Award–winning Kleypas’ clever pairing of a testosterone-rich hero and a wonderfully endearing heroine gives her latest romance its irresistibly sexy flavor, while adding fresh zest to her exceedingly successful series of loosely connected contemporary romances, which began with Sugar Daddy (2007). Kleypas’ fans and readers of women’s fiction alike will take to this richly rewarding story of love, commitment, and family. --John Charles --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312351674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312351670
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women's fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ella Varner is a columnist living and working in Austin, Texas. She loves her life with her boyfriend Dane and is content in their relationship. Everything changes dramatically however when Ella's younger sister, Tara, has a baby, Luke, and Ella is forced to take care of him. Suddenly, Ella's neat and orderly life is interrupted with bottles, nightly feedings, little sleep, and a small but growing baby.

Ella is determined to do her best by Luke and Tara and she decides the best choice is to find the father. When Tara names wealthy playboy Jack Travis as the father, Ella marches down to his Houston office to get answers. Jack denies that he is Luke's father straight away, but Ella wants a paternity test. Jack agrees knowing he is not the father. But he sure would not mind spending more time with the feisty Ella. Jack is used to arm candy in the women he dates. Ella is anything but that. She is intelligent, strong-minded, and determined to never truly lose herself to a man. Let the battle of wills commence!

Smooth Talking Stranger is not as intense as the previous Travis story, Blue-Eyed Devil. There is more laughter and a lightness that Haven's story lacked, which makes sense given the very different plots of the story. While I definitely enjoyed Smooth Talking Stranger, it did not pull me in quite as much as Haven and Hardy's story. This is a romance that skims along the surface rather than delves deep into the characters' hearts and souls. This is not a bad thing but it is just a major difference. Jack and Ella's story is very enjoyable, and perhaps the most romantic out of all of Lisa Kleypas's contemporary romances but it just did not totally grab me.
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Format: Hardcover
This was by far my favorite of Lisa Kleypas' contemporary novels, which is saying a lot, because I've really enjoyed the others. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, but Ella and Jack are such well-drawn characters - the reader gets a very real sense of who they are as people, and what has led to them being who they are. Both are flawed, but in a way that makes them all the more real, and they don't judge each other, but demonstrate a very real, very deep, mutual sense of understanding and acceptance.

Plus, their banter is fantastic! They're both incredibly bright and funny, and a lot of their conversations and back-and-forth snark are a lot of fun to read. That said, Kleypas doesn't skimp on meaningful conversations, either; Ella and Jack have many serious, meaningful talks that give us real insight into their ever-growing and intensifying feelings for one another.

The actual progression of their relationship is very well done. It does not move at a snail's pace, but it doesn't happen overnight, either. The reader is treated to seeing how their initial attraction to, and wariness of, one other develops into real friendship and trust, heat and passion, a breaking down of old walls and defenses, and a truly beautiful, strong love. Kleypas does all of this while managing to avoid a cliche or two that are repeated ad nauseum in books that feature alpha male playboys, and does so in such a way as to turn those cliches to her advantage, and strengthen the bond between the characters.

Then, too, there is involvement by other members of the Travis family (particularly Haven), and their significant others/spouses. It was a great to read about how their lives have grown and changed, and Kleypas integrated them very well into Jack and Ella's story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read all three of Lisa Kleypas' contemporaries and I want more! Each one of these books were page turners. In fact, I left "Blue Eyed Devil" at a house I was visiting in another state. I was about half way through and had to go out and purchase a new one because I couldn't wait to finish the book. "Smooth Talking Stranger" was even better than the first two. I love the premise where the rich guy doesn't buy into the beautiful women who want nothing more from a man than sex and a thick wallet. Jack is probably too macho, but he makes up for it with his sincerity, his deep love and his ability to express that love in the most romantic ways. What a great proposal! I loved it and I didn't want to finish the book because I didn't want it to end. I've read the last three chapters five times since I finished the book a few days ago.

I hope Lisa Kleypas continues to write about the Travises. Is Joe next?
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By Lili on March 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i won't go into the story like everyone else. all i will say is if you're a lisa kleypas fan this book is a must read! you won't be disappointed! i am so impressed with all three of her contemporary books--i can't wait for the next one!
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Format: Hardcover
Up front, the problems. It's a first person romance, if you can't figure out who fathered Luke in about three minutes you haven't read many romances, and the only thing a Vegan needs is a good steak to see the error of their crazy Vegan ways. She may or may not be unfaithful. Also, it's more conventional than Sugar Daddy.

Back to the book. It's a bit brilliant, really. Ella has been so determined to be her own woman and not live her life according to the dictates of society or men that she fails to see her life is utterly bound by dogma and most of that is her boyfriend's dogma. When her toxic mother calls to disrupt her carefully planned existence, Ella has the first of many ultimatums placed before her - come get her unexpected newborn nephew or he goes to foster care. Within moments, she's handed the second - don't come home with a baby. Does Ella want the baby? Does she want to keep her relationship of four years? Where is her sister and what was the girl thinking? All of it falls to Ella, because the only answer she has is that she does not want baby Luke abandoned.

Ella's mother is a wonderful train wreck of a woman, recognizable and real. Anyone would remove a child from her care, so Ella does. Her cousin leads her to believe the baby's father is Jack Travis, wealthy and known to womanize. Ella decides it's time for daddy to step up to the plate. Jack what Ella needs is a healthy dose of himself. And it's on. Jack walks the line between dominating Ella and allowing her to discover that the things she believes and the woman she's made herself into are not choices but reactions. In reacting against her upbringing, Ella has signed on to some beliefs that are more about what she doesn't want than what she does. Entering a world of wealth ($17,000 a month in child support?
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