From Publishers Weekly
In this uneven offering from seasoned romance author Rice (All a Woman Wants, etc.), cartoonist Jared McCloud longs for two months of peace and quiet so he can finish his animated screenplay. A remote seaside cottage in South Carolina seems the perfect place to kick his creative juices into gear, and it would have been if not for his eccentric landlady, Cleo Alyssum, whose own quest for privacy prompts her to arm the grounds around her house with live peacocks, fake skeletons and screaming sirens. Cleo has a good reason for wanting to keep a low profile; she's on probation for shoplifting, possession and substance abuse, and she needs to stay clean and sober in order to regain custody of her young son, Matty. The story heats up when a hurricane forces Cleo and Jared into the usual steamy romance, but takes a dark turn as the pair try to protect a couple of abused teens from their dysfunctional mother and her sexually deviant boyfriend. While all the ingredients for a good Southern novel are in place here (sex, violence, humor and ambience), wooly characterizations and a confusing, unexplained conclusion involving ancient human bones found on Cleo's property will leave the reader wondering how all these plot fragments connect.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Former drug addict and ex-con Cleo has moved to a small South Carolina town to start over and regain custody of her nine-year-old son, Matty, using a small inheritance to purchase some beachfront property, including a ramshackle house. When famed cartoonist Jared McCloud invades her property in hopes of renting the beach house, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to him. Despite Cleo's quarrelsome ways, they strike a deal: Jared can stay in the house in exchange for fixing it up and staying out of Cleo's way. Jared sees past Cleo's self-defensive attitude and is enchanted. When the two ride out a hurricane together and help two teenage neighbors out of a dangerous situation, Cleo learns to trust again, and it isn't long before cantankerous Cleo and quick-witted Jared have fallen for each other. But how can Cleo, who believes that Jared is much too good for her, allow herself to ruin the life Jared has worked so hard to create? Rice's latest is perfectly captivating. Megan KalanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved