|Rachel Gibson: Daisy's Back in Town|
Avon (Paperback), ISBN 0-06-000925-X
Jack Parrish, Daisy Lee Brooks and Steven Monroe grew up together in Lovett, Texas. Both boys loved her, but Jack and Daisy carried on a hot affair in high school. After the sudden death of Jack's parents, leaving him responsible for a younger brother, Jack needed some time to sort things out. Daisy, pregnant and terrified, married Steven and moved away, creating a 15-year rift in the friendship. After Steven's death from a brain tumor, Daisy returns home to finally tell Jack about Nathan, their son.
But coming clean turns out to be more difficult that planned. Despite their mutual bitterness, the sexual attraction between Jack and Daisy flares. Jack keeps dodging Daisy's attempts to talk, first by walking away, then by seducing her.
Troubles in Daisy's family add to the tangle. Her sister, Lily, runs her car into the home of her soon-to-be-ex-good-for-nothing-husband, Ronnie, landing Lily in the hospital with a broken ankle. Daisy's mother can't handle caring for Lily, so Daisy must extend her visit to Texas.
Nathan, unhappy at staying with relatives, persuades Daisy that he should visit too. Thinking that Jack already knows about him, Nathan shows up at Jack's auto restoration business and tilts Jack's world sideways. Furious at Daisy for keeping this huge secret for 15 years, Jack seesaws between the simmering desire he feels for her, and resentment toward Daisy and the now-deceased Steven. Even he can't tell which set of emotions ultimately will win.
Rachel Gibson writes a terrific tale of small-town life and love. The sexual high jinks between Jack and Daisy fit right in with the steaminess of Texas. A little more time and effort seems needed to develop how Jack and Daisy end up in love again, but it doesn't detract too much from the story.
A few other quibbles include the lightning speed with which Jack and Nathan bond and Lily's bizarre attitude towards her brother-in-law. For most of the book, Lily obsesses over Ronnie and Ronnie's new girlfriend, to the point of stalking them. It just seems a little over the top. But Daisy's mother provides some very true-to-life humor: Every conversation includes a complete family pedigree of whomever she talks about. A fun read, especially for someone familiar with small-town life.
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