Saturday, July 25, 2015

492 (2015 #49). Rules of the Game

by Lori Wilde,
read by C. J. Critt

This book is the second in romance writer Lori Wilde's Stardust, Texas, series.  Stardust is of course a fictional town, located "two and a half hours" east of Dallas (page 4) and "thirty miles" southwest of Jefferson (page 111).  Although the distances aren't quite right, I like to think it's modeled on Gladewater, the "Antique Capital of East Texas."  Heroine Jodi Carlyle's adoptive parents own an antique store, and she runs Boxcars and Breakfast (a B&B made out of train cars), which sounds like the kind of place you might find in Gladewater.

Once again, Wilde has woven a number of romance tropes (which I've italicized) into this story.  Jodi is a New Years Day jilted bride, and her therapist recommends crashing a wedding one year later, which is also a couple days after she turns 30. (Thus the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter that start out "Jodi Carlyle's Wedding Crasher Rules.")  At the high-profile wedding in Dallas, she nearly gets kicked out, but is saved by widower athlete Jake Coronado.  Jodi uses a bit of disguise or mistaken identity by not telling him her real name, but decides a one-night fling with him would be good therapy too.  Hot sex ensues.

Naturally they run into each other again in Stardust - turns out Jake is the last-minute best man for Jodi's sister's intended! (The romance of Jodi's sister Breeanne Carlyle and Jake's Dallas Gunslingers baseball team manager Rowdy Blanton is the subject of the first book in the series, Back in the Game.  Jodi and Breeanne have two more sisters, also adoptees, and Wilde typically has four books as the core of each of her small-town Texas series.  It's not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this one, though.)

Jake and Jodi will be seeing a lot of each other since Jodi is the maid of honor for the Valentine's Day wedding.  Of course, they both have scars to deal with before they can live happily ever after.

I enjoyed this somewhat-predictable story because Lori Wilde is a master of setting and description.  I started out listening to the audio version performed by actress C. J. Critt.  Her reading was fine, and I enjoyed her giving characters appropriate Texas accents.  However, it was a bit slow, and given that I need to read 24 books in the same period of time where I've only been able to read just 10-14 in the past, I switched to the e-book when it became available at one of my libraries.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[The audiobook and e-book were borrowed from and returned to local public libraries.]

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