Don't Mess With Texas
Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publish Date: September 1, 2011
From the author's website:
Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.
Former cop turned PI, Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy-though skittish-suspect tells him she couldn't hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas's own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night "undercover" work will help him prove it . . .
Nikki Hunt is not in love with her ex-husband. Not even if it will help her out of her financial difficulties. She's agreed to meet him for dinner but decides she will absolutely not get back together with him. Once she gets there, however, he's distracted and on the phone. He tells her he needs a wife to move up in the law firm he works for, then when he gets another call, he goes outside to take it. Nikki waits....and waits....and waits. She realizes she's stuck with a bill that she can't afford, and she's pissed. She leaves the restaurant, runs out to buy some medicine for her upset stomach, pops the trunk to her car, and finds her husband inside - dead.
Dallas O'Connor is a private investigator. He takes on cases of people who he believes are unjustly accused of the crimes they're being charged with. With each case, it's personal - Dallas was wrongly convicted and sent to prison with two friends. Once their conviction was overturned, the three friends started Don't Mess with Texas Private Investigations. Dallas is with his brother Tony, a cop, when Tony gets a call about a murder scene right around the corner. Dallas heads over with Tony, and begins to think Nikki Hunt may need his services...
Don't Mess With Texas was not at all what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it. Based on the title and the cover, I thought it would be a Cowboy Romance, but it's not. Don't Mess With Texas is a funny, sexy, sweet and sometimes wistful Contemporary Romance. Although they meet under dubious circumstances (trust me, you don't want to be eating when you start this book) the attraction between Nikki and Dallas is hot. I like that they fight it though, and try to concentrate on clearing Nikki from the top of the suspect list in her ex-husband's murder. Several times I went back and forth trying to decide "whodunit"; and in the end, I guessed wrong, lol.
Ms. Craig paces the story well, there's a nice flow between the plot and the romance, as well as the secondary storyline of Dallas' brother Tony. Tony and his wife LeAnn are having problems, and reading their attempts at moving on from tragedy was both sweet and heartbreaking - the events on page 414 brought tears to my eyes.
The cast of secondary characters is varied and entertaining: In addition to Tyler and Austin, Dallas' partners in Don't Mess with Texas Private Investigators, there's Nikki's grandmother, Nana, is a wild woman who speaks her mind and protects Nikki like a bear protects her cub; Nikki's friend and co-worker Ellen, who has a hysterical scene in the hospital wherein she propositions the male healthcare workers and cops who come in to her hospital room to question her; Dallas' client, Nance, a young man accused of murder, and last but not least, Dallas' gassy dog Bud.
This is my first ready by Christie Craig and I intend to read more, I thoroughly enjoyed Don't Mess With Texas and recommend it to anyone looking for a read that's got an interesting plot, steamy scenes and a sense of humor.
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.