Sunday, January 15, 2012

Open Season by Linda Howard

Book Description:
Be careful what you wish for....  

On her thirty-fourth birthday, Daisy Minor decides to make over her entire life. The small-town librarian has had it with her boring clothes, her ordinary looks, and nearly a decade without so much as a date. It's time to get a life -- and a sex life. The perennial good girl, Daisy transforms herself into a party girl extraordinaire -- dancing the night away at clubs, laughing and flirting with abandon -- and she's declared open season for manhunting. But her free-spirited fun turns to shattering danger when she witnesses something she shouldn't -- and becomes the target of a killer. Now, before she can meet the one man who can share her life, first she may need him to save it.

This was such a great read, I loved it!  Funny, suspenseful, hot - you name it! Plus it had an adorable golden retriever puppy in it! What more could you ask for! I adored it! 

Staid small town librarian, Daisy Minor, gives herself a makeover on her birthday.  It's high time she moved out of her mother's house and got a place on her own - and a sex life.  She's thirty-four years old and really needs to change things.  With her new blonde haircut, make up and an updated wardrobe she happens to attract the attention of the town's brawny police chief  - Jack Russo!  A brash out of towner from Chicago, she is less than thrilled with Jack and his Yankee ways.  Yet, they keep bumping into each other and pretty soon the whole town is talking about their hot love affair!  But... wait a minute... there is no affair - yet.  Meanwhile, Daisy is testing out her new look at the nearby dance clubs and unwittingly witnesses a murder one night in the parking lot of one of them and becomes a target herself.  Who's there to save her? You guessed it!

The plot is a complex one, full of interesting side characters involving the mayor of the town who is behind a white slavery ring, bringing girls in from Mexico and Russia, selling them to the highest bidders - virgins commanding the highest prices.  Daisy has witnessed the murder of one of the guys working for the ring and she has to be gotten rid of so she can't testify.  The cast of characters are colorful and lively and I was really drawn into the story - it was nearly impossible to put down! I loved the way we see how it all unfolds and just what kind of a mess the mayor finds himself in - all very clever and well written!

Back to Jack and Daisy... soon enough, Jack and Daisy's non-affair turns into a full blown real one, the chemistry between the two is electric and despite Daisy's early protestations that she doesn't want to have anything to do with Jack, she's ripe for a fling and finds he's too hard to resist.  His large countenance (in every respect) and "won't take no for an answer" attitude is impossible to ignore.   Plus, he's great in bed.  *sigh*  The one catch - she thinks he's not into getting married - yet she's not getting any younger and she wants to have babies!  Hence her whole reason for the make over.  She's out to snag a husband and have a family!   Hmmm... what to do, what to do?

One of my very favorite things about this book was the humor.  I found myself chuckling over and over again over the frequent meetings between Jack and Daisy.  One particular moment in the drugstore with a box of condoms is hilarious!  They have many funny moments and conversations throughout the book.  The dialogue between them is fast and sassy, she can hold her own with him.  Yet, as they get closer, he becomes ever more protective of her.  Since Daisy has moved out and living alone in a not so great part of town - albeit a small southern sleepy kind of town - she buys herself a watch dog.  Jack has advised her to get a no nonsense canine - something like a German Shepherd.  What does Daisy get - a golden retriever puppy!  As the owner of a golden retriever myself, I thought Jack's reaction was priceless. 

"That's a golden retriever puppy."  She cuddled the baby to her. "So?"  With measured movements, Jack closed the door, locked it, then rhythmically beat his head against the frame.  "What's wrong with my puppy?" Daisy demanded.

"He's a puppy."  ...

"He'll grow," she said.  "Look at the size of his feet.  He's going to be huge."

"He'll still be a golden retriever."

"What's wrong with that? I think he's beautiful."

"He is.  He's gorgeous.  But goldens are so friendly, they're no protection at all.  They think everyone is their friend, placed on earth just to pet them.  He might bark to let you know when someone comes up, but that's about it."

"That's okay, he's perfect for me."  She kissed the top of the puppy's head. He was squirming trying to get down so he could investigate this new human.

Sighing, Jack reached out and took the little guy in his big hands.  The puppy began licking madly at every inch of skin he could reach.  "So, his name's Killer?"

"No, I've just been trying out names.  Nothing seems to fit."

"Not if they're like Killer, they won't.  You name goldens something like Lucky, or Fuzzbutt."  He lifted the puppy until they were nose to nose.  "How about Midas or Riley or --"

"Midas!" Daisy said, her eyes lighting as she stared from him to the puppy. "That's perfect!" She threw her arms around him, stretching up on tiptoe in an effort to kiss him, but the newly named Midas got there first and licked her on the mouth.  She sputtered and wiped her mouth, "Thanks sweetie, but you aren't half the kisser the guy is."

"Thanks," Jack said, holding Midas at a safe distance as he leaned down and their lips met.  And clung.  The kiss deepened.  The melting started again. 

"Do you mind if I spend the night?" he murmured, trailing kisses down her throat. 

He is sinfully sexy.  I loved Jack.  He's big and commanding - a real alpha.  Yet he knows when to be sweet and gentle when it matters.  Aside from his too short haircut and a little overdoing it with the muscles, I'd say he was near perfect.   I also really loved Daisy, but she got a little left out of the book towards the big climatic ending.  Jack told her to stay put and keep out of trouble while he handled things with the bad guys - and she did!

Do yourself a favor and read this book, it was so much fun and a real keeper!  Linda Howard has become one of my favorite contemporary romantic suspense authors, she really is great with this genre.


P.S.  Ms. Howard's descriptions of owning a puppy are right on target.  Lo and behold, I looked it up and yes, she is the proud owner of a golden or two.  I knew it!  They are such scamps as puppies, but so adorable!  I'm treating you to some pictures of my Hector when he was a little pup - about 10 weeks! Oh my how time flies!  He's nearly ten years old now!

Those cute little legs behind him, only a puppy can do this!

Always smiling up at you - always happy!

What a sweetie!

One of his two speeds: sleeeping

All Grown Up 


Joanne said...

This sounds like a great read, and I've added it to my reading list! I loved Mr. Perfect.

Adorable pup pics, and a real sweetie all grown up. The king of our household is our Cavalier King Charles spaniel. His favorite spot is right in my lap whenever I sit to read.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Joanne, same thing with Hec, he lies on the floor right beside me (too big for my lap!) when I'm reading. Our regular routine.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Awwwww! Awwwww! I love Goldens. Ours, Rosie, looked just like yours. She lived to the ripe old age of 14. This is quite possibly the only Linda Howard book I haven't read. Better get crackin'!

Lucas Nevada said...

This sounds like the type of book that I would enjoy. I happen to read something thrilling too. Its name is The Confessional by J.L Powers. Such great, promise :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Oh Julia - you've got to read it then - being a golden lover! Our Hec is going strong at 10, crossing my fingers he lives a lot longer and the big C doesn't get him - happens to so many!

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