When Tough Enough by Sarah Storme landed in my mailbox, I was a little disappointed. It's a contemporary romance - no vampires, no witches or anything undead. It's true; no creepy crawlies in this story, just a good old fashioned boy meets girl romance. Well, sort of. This girl rides a motorcycle and carries a switchblade.
Jackie Cook is running from the law and a bunch of thugs who are more than willing to kill her to get her out of their way. No, she didn't do really illegal or anything, she was just helping out a friend. On the run from her home state of Alaska, Jackie knows she has to lie low, so as of today her new home is a dusty old trailer in the mountains of Spencer's Springs, Colorado.
The daughter of a prostitute, Jackie has heard it all and seen most of it first hand. That doesn't stop her from being caught off guard when Mr. Perfect asks her out on a date. Are you kidding? She knows this pretty boy is a heart breaker and she is going to steer clear. When you are on the run, no man is worth the trouble. Especially a man with that much money, and those eyes, and that body… Well, OK, maybe a little more trouble won't hurt.
Matt Forester has seen his share of beautiful women, like the boring blonde he just broke up with. She was good in the sack and looked hot on his arm, but was seriously lacking in the interesting thoughts department. He wasn't too sure she had thoughts of any kind, interesting or not, in that blonde head of hers.
He knows he can have any woman he finds attractive and for most of his life he had, but what did it get him? A long string of ex-girlfriends, a cold empty bed, and a lonely heart.
So if he could have any beauty he wanted, how in the world could he be attracted to this woman bussing tables? Oh, she's attractive, but she's not his type. Tight jeans, feathered hair, biker boots. Yeah, definitely not one of the debutantes he usually keeps on the line. He couldn't possibly see anything in her, could he? What would his friends and family say? Probably that she wasn't worth his time. Maybe not, but tell that to his racing heart and sweaty palms!
Jackie and Matt are wonderful characters and make a good pair, but if you are an animal lover you will fall in love with one of the minor characters, Ned. A man of many years, he dispenses both wisdom and affection to our unusual couple as they fight to save their relationship. Ned is definitely an asset to this story and a pleasure to meet.
Ms. Storme has written a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance in Tough Enough. The emotional connection she creates between her characters makes this a story to remember. The wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance of the characters is an oldie but a goody, as both characters fight to overcome their differences.
Tough Enough is a very engaging and satisfying read, don't pass it by. Honestly, I didn't miss the vampires or witches a bit. I think maybe I'll try Ms. Storme's Strength of a Promise next.
Reviewed By Sabine Maurier
© September 2007