Series: Bigler, North Carolina, Book 3
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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Ten weeks in a swanky Arizona rehab center and Tanyalee Newberry, aka Taffy, is ready to give up everything that isn’t good for her―her forgery habit, taking (i.e., stealing) things that don’t belong to her, and, of course, men. But when her flight home gets rerouted, she finds herself in a hotel room with her smoking-hot travel companion. One night together is all it should have been. But passion is oh-so sweet…
Special Agent Dante Cabrera has been duped at his own love-’em-and-leave-’em game by this so-called Taffy. To forget she ever existed, Dante buries himself in his work…until a case leads him to North Carolina and, impossibly, right back to her. He has no business messing around with this felonious femme fatale, especially one who could be in more danger than she thinks. But Dante also knows there’s more to her than great looks and hot nights―a soul-searching woman who wants amend her past sins. Is he ready to take their desire to the next level…and steal Taffy’s heart?
Return to Bigler, North Carolina and see a former villain become an endearing, slightly daffy heroine in Stealing Taffy. Susan Donovan had an uphill battle turning Tanyalee into a heroine I could like. Tanyalee’s past and her treatment of others (especially her sister, the heroine of Cheri on Top) was despicable and there was no excuse for it. The newly-reformed Tanyalee in Stealing Taffy is a women who doesn’t make excuses for her past and is trying to make amends, and I actually liked her villain-to-heroine arc. The new Tanyalee is a bit out of her depth when she returns to her hometown, and I liked seeing her work on being a better person. Part of her efforts includes mentoring a troubled young girl, Fern. Fern and Tanyalee’s relationship was, for me, the highlight of the book. The two of them gave this book genuine heart and had it just been their respective journeys, I would have adored Stealing Taffy.
Where the story falters is the romance. Dante is an interesting hero with lots of potential, but we never go into depth on any of his issues. Because of this, he felt a bit cardboard, and this was a pity because Ms. Donovan tells us he’s a hero with issues of his own, ones that are passed over in favor of other storylines. Mostly Dante feels like a springboard for other characters (Tanyalee in particular) and plotlines to bounce off of. His relationship with Tanyalee is fluffy and fun, but there’s a real case of missed opportunity. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the romance felt superficial, so I was left wanting more. Stealing Taffy isn’t a bad book – it’s enjoyable, lighthearted entertainment – but the romance is missing heart. With a bit more depth, this book could have gone from ok to great.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.