Dear Ms. Mallery:
This is the first Buchanan book that I read but the second in the series. I think its my favorite Mallery book I’ve read in my recent glom.
Elissa Towers is a woman who has made some past bad mistakes and is still paying for them, but she’s righting her ship and trying to make a life for herself and her daughter, Zoe. She lives in a poorer part of town, sharing an apartment complex with Mrs. Ford, an elderly woman, and a newcomer, Walker Buchanan.
All Elissa knows about Walker is that he was in the military and doesn’t appear to have a job. She doesn’t really want to know more because men are a bad thing and she’s done with bad things. But one day she’s struggling with her taking the tire off her car and Walker shows up and lends a hand. One thing leads to another and Walker has bought her a new tire.
This makes Elissa unhappy and she proceeds to tell him that not only does he not have the right to buy a new tire, but she also has no interest in going out with him, EVER.
"Fine. But you don’t have to pay me in cash. We could work out a trade."
White-hot anger blew up inside of her. Here it was-‘the truth. Behind that pretty face was a disgusting, evil, heartless bastard. Just like nearly every other guy on the planet.
Of course. Why was she even surprised? She’d been momentarily attracted to Walker, and based on her stellar track record, that meant there had to be something wrong with him. She’d expected a massive flaw. But she hadn’t thought it would be this.
"Not even if you were the last man alive after nuclear winter," she said between gritted teeth. "I can’t believe you’d suggest that I would be willing-" She wanted to slap him. "It was a tire. It’s not like you gave me a kidney."
He had the nerve to actually smile at her. "You’d sleep with me if I gave you a kidney?"
Walker is at loose ends. He thought he would stay in the military until they kicked him out. Instead, after seventeen years, he leaves and now he’s not sure what he wants to do other than find Ashley, a girl that a young man in his unit spoke about with reverence. Ben wrote a letter for Ashley and Walker is going to deliver it even if it takes him months and hundreds of Ashleys. Ben took a bullet that was meant for Walker, died for him.
There was something wonderfully poignant about Walker’s search for Ashley, his disconnect from the world, and his struggle not to fall for Elissa or her daughter. =Elissa had plenty of reasons to swear off men, the most recent one being the father of Elissa’s daughter. She struggles mightily to ward off the feelings she has for Walker. Even when it becomes physical, Elissa tells herself that it is only temporary; that she just needs a temporary release.
Walker keeps telling Elissa that she can’t trust him; that he can’t be relied upon. And the reason for this is pretty heartwrenching. It’s some thing that is real and powerful enough to have affected someone for the rest of their lives and it was interesting to see how Walker ended up working through it. There are a couple of scenes in the book that are real tearjerkers and the one in which Walker let’s go of his past and his guilt and his self hatred was one of them.
Elissa reminds me of a Nora Roberts heroine. Capable, smart, honest with herself.
It’s apparent that Walker and Elissa fit together like two pieces of the puzzle. Elissa has the family that Walker always searched for but never realized he wanted. Walker is the man that Elissa can finally rely upon, who won’t use her up and walk away even when he believes he is not that man. B+