Recently dumped by her boyfriend and in what can only be described as a serious career funk, Kate Hamilton decides to visit her grandfather in Idaho. Along the way, a blizzard on Valentine’s Day forces her to stop at a ritzy resort to wait out the storm. All around her are happy couples and a plethora of paper hearts, all rubbing her face in the fact that she’s alone. Well, alone until a tall, dark, handsome man sits next to her at the bar and strikes up a very flirtatious conversation. Throwing caution to the wind and letting the alcohol work its magic, Kate propositions him and is quite rudely rebuffed. She comforts herself with the knowledge that no one will ever know and she will never see him again. When she gets to her grandfather’s, Kate offers to help out in his supermarket. Unfortunately, not only are her suggestions to modernize the business rejected, the source of her most recent humiliation is one of the first customers.
Rob Sutter, a recently retired hockey player and owner of the sporting goods store across the parking lot, regrets turning Kate down, but painful experience has taught him to be careful with strange women. But she isn’t a stranger anymore, and Rob tries everything he can think of to make her reconsider her decision to avoid him like the plague. Rob made his first appearance in See Jane Score, where readers knew him as a hockey goon with a sensitive side. In The Trouble with Valentine’s Day, Rob is making a new life for himself while trying to cope with the fact that one mistake cost him his family and his career.
In her trademark style, Gibson has once again written a sassy, humorous love story that brings to mind Susan Elizabeth Phillips, replete with lighthearted banter and poignant secondary plots. Even though Kate has trouble sticking to her guns and gives in to Rob’s seductions a little too easily, and Rob’s relationship with devotion to his young daughter often seems contrived, this is still a worthy addition to an entertaining and impressive body of work by Rachel Gibson.