Engaging the Enemy
Nora Roberts
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Engaging the Enemy

Nora Roberts
512 pages
May 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Engaging the Enemy contains two previously written stories by best-selling author Nora Roberts.

In “A Will and a Way,” very distant cousins Pandora McVie and Michael Donohue are forced to share a roof for a period of six months under the terms of their deceased relative’s will, if they’re to inherit his sizeable property and holdings. More out of a wish to respect the last wishes of the departed rather than any necessity for money, these two mutually antagonistic people comply. Pandora and Mike have spent the best part of their lives trying to irritate and one-up the other. Pandora has always considered Mike’s career as a TV-show writer to be utterly brainless and has nothing but sly remarks about his dating habits. Mike, on the other hand, regards Pandora’s chosen career as a jewelry designer to be utterly frivolous and pandering. But as they’re forced to spend lot of time together, they gradually come to understand and even respect each other. This soon transforms into a passion too strong to be resisted. Is love in the air?

But someone malicious is out to create misunderstanding and mischief, and soon Pandora and Mike finds themselves the target of increasingly dangerous pranks. However, instead of giving up or giving in, these stubborn two unite to foil the objectives of whomever is menacing them. Whether their love life will survive after all this is the really interesting part.

The second story, “Boundary Lines,” features Jillian Baron and Aaron Murdock as two feuding cattle ranch owners in Montana. Jillian, a woman who’s never fit in with her family and their city-lifestyle, has at long last found peace and purpose in the hardworking life of a rancher. Determined to keep up the feud between Barons and Murdocks in the manner of her deceased grandfather, she’s nevertheless surprised and more than a bit stunned when she unexpectedly runs across the ruggedly handsome Aaron Murdock. In turn, Aaron is equally startled to find himself so quickly and deeply attracted to this petite spitfire, much less a Baron. It begins as a war of wits and words, but soon something deeper threatens to develop between them.

But Jill, who has some deep emotional scars, is determined never to let anything blossom between them while Aaron is as determined to. Even as desire and wariness fight a battle, someone is out stealing Jill’s cattle. Will Jill end up losing her beloved ranch but gain a love in the process, or not?

Both stories were penned by Nora Roberts in the mid '80s and reflect the popular sentiment of those days, where the heroes were tough and domineering, the passion was all-consuming, and there was little else in way of plot development. So it is with these two stories, though they are well-written and engaging in their cute old-fashioned ways. There is some degree of suspense in both stories, but the romantic development remains the primary focus. There are some interesting side characters, but since the romance is all-prevailing, most of the story is concentrated on the feelings, thoughts and convoluted doings of the protagonists; the side characters are not as effective. Roberts is her usual consummate self even in these not-so-intricate romances and still manages to interest the reader. If these two novels prove anything, it’s that Nora Roberts and romances are as spellbinding and timeless as they ever were.

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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