Games of the Heart by Kristen Ashley


It hurt Officer Mike Haines to lose Vi to Cal but the cut is deeper when a childhood friend dies. The widow and children seem to be distancing themselves, the parents can barely cope with the loss, the elder sister and ex-girlfriend sister seems angrier that younger sister Dusty seems to be un-involved more than anything else and as an old friend of the family, Mike’s sure he has insight to why Dusty isn’t circling the wagons with the family

Determined to bring Dusty back into the fold in the family’s time of need, Mike storms off to see her but things don’t go according to plan as they both feel the attraction. Dusty convinces herself her brother would have wanted them together despite Mike being their sister’s ex! Mike knows his ex, Debbie Holliday, wasn’t for him but had no idea little Dusty would be such a perfect fit.

Though they’re happy with the promise of after, our star couple was issue free for the most part but there were individual family challenges for both. The friction was generated by too many people having a stake in the relationship and went beyond ‘cute’ for my taste and I wasn’t a fan of the tone of the read.

Since his featured role in At Peace, Mike’s gotten his customized alpha monosyllabic neanderthal suit complete with juvenile discussions of his sex life, reminiscent of a teen with their first notches not as a man deserving of a return engagement. It cheapened Mike’s character for this reader. Sadly the rest of the males picked up the habit as well. How apropos teens have a big piece of the read.

Touchbacks to previous leads, sister Debbie going frantic to show her displeasure about the star couple (and try to seem not to care simultaneously), and the younger couple was sweet, plus getting to know the delightful Dusty kept the story busy as did catching up on the mini-crime-wave happening in the ‘Burg. While this outing was a tad disappointing for my taste the series is quite worthwhile.

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