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Smooth Talking Stranger Hardcover – March 31, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 286 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Travis Series

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The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ella Varner grew up with a troublesome mother and an insecure sister, but she has managed to come out of it reasonably sane, with a good (if vegan) boyfriend, Dane, and a job as an advice columnist. All of this gets turned upside down when her sister disappears and sticks Ella with her newborn, Luke. Determined to find Luke's father, Ella tracks down a likely suspect—millionaire playboy Jack Travis. The encounter results in Travis and Ella unexpectedly engaged in an irrepressible attraction. Meanwhile, Ella grows fond of baby Luke and fears what will happen when Tara returns. As Ella grapples with conflicting desires, she learns some important lessons about love and trust. Though Kleypas has trouble breaking her male characters out of archetype and the arc is familiar, Ella's familial dysfunction distinguishes her from other heroines, and her self-awareness draws her out of a stereotypical shell. This will please romance fans, even if it hews a bit too closely to genre conventions. (Apr.)
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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
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312351666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312351663
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stumbled onto Ms. Kleypas a few years ago and have read most of her many books (on my Kindle), and at least one or more from each series. However, I can not get enough of STS. I've read it twice and have to stop myself now from reading it again! Whenever I get bored with other authors this book begins to haunt me. Jack is my IDEAL MAN!!! And I'm African American!! He's smoothe, charming and a "man's man". One question...Where can I get a Jack? I consider myself a romance history buff, but Lisa Kleypas proves she's got more depth than the average writer, period! I loved that Ella is sensitive, sensible and not an easy catch, but Jack never falters in wooing her. Her sister, on the other hand...well,let's just say there are far too many young women beguilded by the bling of men in the ministry. She's also a possesses characteristics of women who have been exposed to molestation as children. I feel myself falling fast and feel certain that before February is over, I'll be reading STS for my 3rd time (and 2nd in less than a year).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought Smooth Talking Stranger for my kindle based on a recommendation on Amazon. I did not know that it was book three in a trilogy. I do not like to read books out of order so I went ahead and purchased Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil, read them first and fell in love with all of the author's characters. I like how the author carries her characters over from one book to the next without it seeming repetitive.

Smooth Talking Stranger was every bit as wonderful as the first two books. Jack and Ella's story was so good. Love, passion, angst, oh and the steamy sex! I definitely recommend this one (and the other two).
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