With Her Last Breath
Cait London
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Buy *With Her Last Breath* online

With Her Last Breath

Cait London
373 pages
June 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Maggie Chantel, a fitness expert and woman on the run, moves to Blanchefleur, Michigan, in the hopes of creating a new and happier life for herself. She has lost her sister to drugs, her husband to lack of trust, and her security because of one man who cannot let her go. Traveling with her is a dog named Scout with an equally traumatic past, but together they are all each other has.

Blanchefleur is a kind, welcoming town on the edge of Lake Michigan. Nick Alessandro is a man who is fighting his own demons. He lost his wife and unborn child in a horrific accident and cannot forgive himself. He is trying to build his familyís vineyard into a successful operation and doesnít have time for Maggie and all the baggage she brings with her. But he canít ignore the attraction that springs to life whenever he sees or, and not even her gun-shy attitude on love and relationships will stop him from pursuing her.

Maggie and Nick, two scarred souls, find in each other what they werenít even aware they were looking for. As Maggieís past forces itself into her new life, they must fight an insidious evil, an evil that will kill over and over again, to keep the delicate happiness they have finally found.

With poignant, sensitive writing, Cait London has created characters to fall in love with. The reader feels Maggieís heartache, Nickís desperate love, and even Scoutís joy. Sometimes the emotion feels overdone and maudlin, and early into Maggie and Nickís love affair I wanted to scream at her to stop letting her fears and phobias ruin her life. Fortunately she starts to annoy herself and works through her problems. While her hesitancy to fall in love is always in the forefront, Nickís past is almost entirely ignored except for a few key instances. He has just as many reasons to shy away from love, but he is either too strong or his problems are too easy to forget.

The characters are well-developed and for the most part easy to like; the supporting cast provide depth and humor, and I would not be surprised if the Alessandro family shows up in future novels. The villain is cunning and vicious and has absolutely no redeeming qualities to get in the way of readers' hatred of him, which is always nice. I have a definite aversion to books that have main characters who arenít easy to like and a bad guy with whom I start to sympathize. I like my lines well-drawn in the sand and want to know exactly on which side each character stands.

Londonís writing is interesting and makes for quick reading, perfect for an afternoon at the beach or a rainy morning. I look forward to seeing more from her, and especially from the very attractive sons of the Alessandro family.

© 2003 by Kelley Sittner Hartshorn for Curled Up With a Good Book

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