Friday, November 06, 2009

HOT ON HER HEELS - Susan Mallery (Lone Star Sisters)

Author Susan Mallery has crafted an emotional and very moving book, the last in her Lone Star Sister series, HOT ON HER HEELS. It was the two characters who drew me into this incredible story, Dana and Garth. Like all of Mallery’s books, the message is about family, friends, trust and love as only she can pen.

In the first three books one is introduced to the head of the Titan family Jed and his beautiful and spirited daughters, Lexi, Skye and Izzy, the three women who took Dana into their home and made her part of the family due to an abusive father. What was so wonderful to read throughout all three books was the love and support the four of them gave each other. So in the end, Hot on Her Heels was about trust, love, family, belonging, believing in those around you and in yourself.

Hot on Her Heels is Garth and Dana story, one that for me personally was an emotional roller coaster. However, Susan’s character development the bantering between the girls and Dana’s smart mouth to Garth had me howling with laughter. The authors humour shines though and it’s no wonder that Hot on Her Heels hit #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list this past week.

Throughout the series there are two apparent factors Jed and his illegitimate son Garth who vows to take down Jed because of what he did to Garth’s mother, Kathy. Garth’s plan is to get to Jed through his daughters so in each book it focuses on each sister, their father and their half brother with Dana in the wings ready to take Garth down. In the end, Garth plans to legally destroy Jed, take his business, home and all assets, everything making sure he goes to jail.

For Dana, Garth was the evil one, he messed with her friends the Titan sisters and she would take him down. She agrees to follow Garth and find out what he’s up to and is amazed also to learn that the youngest Titan sister Izzy is determined to reform Garth, love him and make all of the sisters forgive and bring him into the family. They’ve learned it’s not Garth to fear but their father Jed. The sisters agree with Garth’s but want Dana involved in the investigation to make sure everything is legal.

The story is fast paced in the beginning and things begin to happen quickly, Jed pays Dana a visit, she is run off the road and her rental car shot at. Garth decides to move Dana into his condo because now like his sisters she needs to be protected. Dana’s not sure what to think of the situation because he unsettles her and she likes being in charge. She’s tough, determined and not like the women he’s used to….no make-up, no designer clothes like his sisters and he knows she’s hiding something from her past. But he also realizes in the end what he wants is someone who stands up to him, someone who is a challenge.

Garth was a wonderful addition to the book because at first you hate him and then you forgive him for the way he treated his sisters. Watching him struggle with the “family thing”, learning to interact with his sisters and their husbands was humorous to read and then so was his relationship with Dana as it became more intense and serious. Could this woman who didn’t trust, who was strong be in danger of loosing her heart? And how about Garth, would he take down his father, become a part of a family and would he let his guard down and let Dana in?

Towards the end of the story, as a reader who loves a happy ending, I began to wonder would Garth and Dana find their happy ever after? As much as they seem to be a great couple with incredible chemistry, there are many obstacles they both face. Dana struggles with the fact that the women he has dated are models, socialites who wear designer clothes where she hasn’t worn a dress in years. With the love and support of the Titan sisters, they help her with some of those issues. However, it’s constant in her mind that Jed reminded her she would never fit in because she was “white trash”. Then on top of everything else she meets Garth’s ex-fiancĂ© and again questions her place in his life. Does she dare take a chance, risk heartbreak and when she figures it out, tell him how she feels?

But the same applies to Garth because for most of his life he has had to trust himself and has only had one friend he could count on. Like Dana he has a past, one that left both physical and mental scars plus a mother because of a tumour would never be the same as Jed Titan refused financial help years earlier. Vengeance at what cost and would it is worth it? For Garth, love doesn’t factor into the equation as he tells his sister. Prepare yourself, there will be lots of tears shed while reading this love story, especially in the final chapters.

Again, Susan Mallery has written such a beautiful, intense and wonderful story. It’s undoubtingly one I will cherish and long remember.

Behind the Book (A Border’s Interview)

Question: Scene you like most and would never cut:
“Hmm…I’m not sure there’s one scene in particular that I love the most, but there are a lot of scenes that I loved. The first kiss ranks high, of course. The realization that the heart is in danger, that sort of combination of panic and giddiness.

The scenes that mean the most to me are those scenes that show internal growth. Love changes a person, and I like to see those changes. One of my favorite scenes in HOT ON HER HEELS comes about midway through the book. Dana has never been a girly-girl. She prides herself on her toughness and her ability to take care of herself no matter what happens. She doesn’t do dresses or high heels. But then Garth invites her to be his date for a fancy benefit.

Despite her best intentions, Dana is falling for Garth, which feels as scary to her as falling backward from the roof of a Dallas skyrise. She wants him to like her, wants almost desperately for him to look at her with that special fire in his eyes that a man gets when a woman dresses up for him. For the first time in her life, she wants to be feminine. So she calls the best fashion expert she knows, Lexi Titan. Pregnant Lexi takes great delight in playing fairy godmother to Dana’s Cinderella. That scene was a lot of fun to write… and the scene in which Garth sees Dana in her finery was probably even more fun!” Author, Susan Mallery
Book Description:

Dana Birch vowed never to put herself at the mercy of a powerful man. She became a deputy so that she could take care of herself and protect those she loves. Especially her best friends, the Titan sisters.

Twenty years ago, Garth Duncan swore revenge on Jed Titan for abandoning Garth and his mother. Now he's back to fulfill that promise, even if Jed's daughters get caught in the crosshairs. All that stands between him and his goal is Dana, her gun and a growing passion that can't be denied….

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