Hello Lovelies! Today's dish is book two of a trilogy I discovered earlier this month. I know these aren't new release books, but I haven't read them yet, so they are new to me and I want to dish them. For a refresher on the dish I did about the first book, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE you can click here. And now, without further ado...
ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE by Christina Dodd
As the middle child, Pepper Prescott's rebellious nature helper her survive when her parents disappeared and she and her siblings were sent to different foster homes around the country, Now an independent young woman, Pepper finds herself on he run after witnessing a shooting. Fearing for her life, Pepper flees to the only place she ever considered home and is shocked to find her old lover, Dan Graham, living on the remote mountain ranch, A battle-hardened ex-Special Forces soldier, Dan no longer strikes Pepper as a man she can trust with her secrets, her life, and her love. Bit as long-simmering desires flare into a deep, sensual passion, Pepper realizes the only way she can reclaim her life is to ally herself with the enigmatic warrior who's willing to help fight for her future by solving he mysteries of her past - and making her his wife today.
To tell you the truth - I'm not sure how I feel about that BCC. It sounds OK, but then I think about it and realize that no, it's not quite right. That fine line that some of these BCC's walk, well this one has one foot firmly planted on both sides. I think I like that even less than the ones that out and out lie to me. Hmmmmmm. I must think on this new type of BCC wrongness.
As an eight year old, Pepper Prescott often got in trouble, even with a strong will and ornery nature, Pepper always felt safe with her family, knowing they would love her no matter how she acted out. But when her parents died and she was ripped away from everything she knew, Pepper used those same traits to keep people at a safe distance and her heart safe. Angry at her parents for dying and her older sister Hope for not keeping the family together, Pepper went from foster home to foster home never feeling loved. Then, when she was 16, Pepper went to live with Mrs. Driess, a widowed woman in her sixties, that loved to garden and loved Pepper just as much. Pepper started to love her back and the small town but realized she would never really belong. Losing her virginity to Dan Graham, the most popular good looking guy in school, left Pepper scared of things to come, so before he could hurt her, Pepper ran that very night. But she could never run far enough or long enough to forget Dan Graham.
Dan Graham has lead a dangerous life since Pepper ran out of his life nine years ago. Working in Special Forces, Dan has seen more than his share of death, caused it too. When he kills the son of one of the nastiest terrorist out there (and almost loses his in the process) that terrorist wants revenge, and nothing but Dan's life will do. Dan wants this man dead as well, so heading back to his hometown, Dan sets up a trap while staying at the deceased Mrs. Driess' ranch. He's been trying to find Pepper, the one woman who haunts his memory as much as anything else he's ever seen, he needs to let her know that she has inherited the Driess Ranch, but he needs to finish his mission first.
General Jennifer Napier has been an inspiration to Jackie Porter, aka Pepper Prescott. Reading about the General and how she pulled herself out of self-destructive behavior, Pepper has followed her books and advice to become a very strong and successful businesswoman. But when going back to a signing to get the General's latest book signed for Mrs. Driess, Jackie hears the General being confronted about selling information to the terrorists. When the General kills the man, Jackie drops her signed books and takes off running for her life. How will she ever escape one of the most powerful women in the military, especially since that woman will now want to use her as the scapegoat for the murder.
Saying Good Bye to her Jackie Porter image, Pepper takes off running for mountain ranch and the safety and wisdom of Mrs. Driess. Only once there, it isn't Mrs. Driess she finds, but Dan Graham. And when Pepper learns the truth of Mrs. Driess, she's not sure what to do next. She's never forgotten Dan, never been able to be with any other man. But Dan isn't the same boy she left nine years ago, he very well could now be working for the same woman that wants her dead.
Dan hasn't forgotten Pepper, either. And the effect she has on him is every bit as strong now as it was when he was a teenager. But Pepper has a secret, and Dan can't stand secrets. Is she working for the enemy? Or can he take the ultimate step and trust her? Can he find her family this time around and convince her to stay with him?
I had really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, so I had very high hopes for this one. And while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure it lived up to the expectations I had. Pepper isn't longing to be reunited with her family as Hope is, and Pepper and Dan already know each other and have quite the past. I think, for me, I was disappointed that it wasn't a book about Pepper finding her family like Hope's story had been.
I wasn't very fond of Dan Graham either. He used sex to manipulate Pepper, and she let him. There were times, she would say NO and he kept pushing her until it happened. I noticed that Dodd had done this in one of her historicals that I read, and while I didn't much like it then, it didn't put me off as much as it did with this one. I felt that Pepper allowing Dan and sex to have that much control of her mind, made her weak and that underscored everything Dodd was trying to get across about Pepper, for me anyway.
Also, the reunion with her family at the end felt - well, just wrong. The language they used would have been more at home in a Dodd historical than it was in this contemporary and something Pepper didn't even work for during the course of the book, so it just felt off and like it didn't really fit with the first book.
I did like that we had a few scenes from Hope's world. I like to see recurring characters in trilogies, and I like to see what is going on in their lives NOW, instead of just getting a short re-cap. The action of the book was also well written, if out of place in my mind.
All in all, I'm glad I read it, because I want to know what happened with their parents, I wish we would have gotten more hints, though. We really learn nothing new on the great mystery that surrounds her parents death and the small Texas town that is trying to cover it up, and that did bother me some. I'll definitely have to read the last book, if nothing more than to find out what happened with the parents. I sincerely hope that it is just as entertaining as the first and this second installment was simply a miss with me because of my mood when I read it.
Since this isn't a newly released book, if anyone has read it, I would love to know how you felt about it, and if you've read the third and final book, I'd LOVE to have some thoughts on that as well!