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Gail Barrett: Where He Belongs

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Silhouette (Paperback), ISBN 0-373-247722-2

Book: gail barrett, where he belongs
Twelve years ago, Wade Winslow and Erin McCuen shared a passionate night down by the river, right before he left town for good. The son of a man convicted of manslaughter in a bar fight, Wade never measured up to anything -- according to the town. They believed him destined to turn out just like his father, despite being taken under the wing of Norm Decker. So he fled town as soon as possible. Erin, his complete opposite, came from a good, rich family who lived in a huge house they owned for ten generations. But as a child, she saw beneath the I-don't-give-a-crap exterior to the scared, angry, abandoned boy and loved him just the same. She begged him for one night of passion, despite knowing how badly it would hurt after he left.

Now Wade comes back to watch Norm die of cancer. He still sees the accusing eyes from the townsfolk, but not from Erin. Surprised to see her, he ends up renting a room in Erin's house while he deals with Norm's estate. The lust between them flares up again, but so does a protective instinct, especially when Wade realizes the depth of Erin's financial problems. She cares for her wheelchair-bound grandmother, her debts pile up, the house needs major repairs -- all on a teacher's salary. To make matters worse, a shared kiss in public costs her the job once the fall semester finishes. Wade tries to persuade her to accept his help, but Erin's pride won't let her. Some troubled boys also tie Wade down after he becomes a bit of a mentor to them -- Wade's career as a smokejumper fascinates them.

Gail Barrett writes an extremely angsty but compelling tale. Both characters overcame many obstacles to get to their current position, but further challenges await. Erin knows what trouble lies ahead if she falls in love with Wade again, but she still can't help herself. And Wade never quite got over her from their teenage years. The solution of Erin's financial troubles came as a bit of a surprise, but all in all, Where He Belongs provides a quick, excellent read.

Jen Foote

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