Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week-End's Minis XXXV: Trouble Me by Laura Moore

Trouble Me by Laura Moore
published by Random House Publishing (Ballantine Books) in March 2012
Trouble isn't the only thing on her mind.

The youngest and wildest of the Radcliffe sisters, Jade is the last to return home to her family’s sprawling Virginia horse farm and its unsettling memories. She never planned on a night of passion with a stranger before starting her new life as a teacher and riding instructor—or the shock of recognizing the man who gave her so much pleasure standing right there in her classroom.

Officer Rob Cooper is stunned. Not only is the woman who rocked his world his daughter’s second grade teacher, but she’s the troubled teen whom he blames for his wife’s death years ago. Worse, now that he sees her in the light of day, he wants her more than ever. Time has softened Jade’s hard, rebellious edge—she’s spirited, honest, and sexy to distraction. But will the feelings ignited in the heat of desire be enough to heal a past that needs forgiving?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: The Rosewood trilogy, Book #3

What do you need to know? Trouble Me takes place about 6 years after Believe in Me and features the youngest Radcliffe sister, Jade, as the heroine. In Remember Me and Believe in Me, Jade was a teenager going through a tough time. She had just lost her parents in an accident and started at a new school and the gossips were cruel. Therefore, she was acting out... Especially after she found her mother's diary where her mother had written pretty bad stuff about her. It also seemed that her mother was having an affair and that perhaps, the plane accident in which her father was the pilot and which killed her parents might not have been an accident after all...

In Trouble Me, Jade has grown up and matured. She has just finished her degree in education and has found a job as a substitute teacher for grade 2 which takes her back home in Warburg and Rosewood. She also plans to start teaching children how to ride at the horse farm. On her trip back, because of the weather, she is forced to stop at a hotel... One thing leads to another and she ends up having a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. However, the stranger turns out not to be such a stranger... Instead, it's Rob Cooper aka Robocop, the cop that witnessed and arrested Jade multiple times during her rebellion years. He's also the father of Hayley, a cute 6 years old girl who happens to be Jade's student at school and for the horse riding class... Oh and he also blames Jade for his wife's death because the night she died, Rob was busy arresting Jade. So when they both realized with whom they slept with, Jade and Rob aren't very happy... but they can't deny they are attracted to each other and decide to take a chance. However, there's a few things not in their favor Except Jade has decided to hire a PI to investigate on her mother's lover and hasn't told Rob... and this secret could jeopardize their relationship.

Why this book? I picked up Trouble Me because I read and enjoyed Believe in Me. Also, I was curious to find out what was the big secret and how Jade would turn out.

What did I like? There was actually a lot that I liked and enjoyed in Trouble Me. I thought the beginning of Trouble Me was very good and I liked discovering the new woman that Jade had become. I liked that she was passionate about her teaching and the horses and was going after her dreams, doing what she liked in life. It's inspiring and something I really wished I had done, although besides reading, I don't exactly know what I'm passionate about LOL. While Jade has matured, she still had issues about what her mother wrote about her in her diary and it was good that her issues hadn't miraculously disappeared, that it was realistic. I also liked Rob's character. First, he was a great father and you could really feel his love for Hayley. What I liked most about Rob though was that he was level-headed and could be reasoned with. The two instances that come to mind is when he first realized that Jade was going to be his daughter's teacher and when he  found out that Jade was the woman from the one-night stand he couldn't forget. In both cases, he really wasn't happy about it, but after discussions and reflections, came to his sense. I liked that he realized that Jade was in no way to blame for his wife's death and that it wasn't really an issue between the two. I also liked that he didn't hold onto this anger and let it come between the two. I guess what I'm saying is that Rob was a mature man as well :) By the way, speaking of the one-night stand, I really liked the fact that it took time before Jade and Rob came face to face in the story and realized each other's identity. I thought that was well handled by Ms Moore - she gave herself time to set up the characters and at the same time, gave time to the readers to know them better instead of throwing us in. It was clever too since given the situation, sooner or later, Jade and Rob would have met and she chose later. And as a couple, Jade and Rob worked for me, they had good chemistry :)

Finally, I did enjoy seeing past characters and I thought they were well integrated in the storyline. I could have used a few more sisters scenes, but I think the focus of the story was where it was supposed to be :)

What didn't work for me? As I said, there was a lot to like about Trouble Me. I think Ms Moore did a great job setting up the story. Unfortunately, it's an important part of the story that didn't work for me: the conflicts ^_^; In a way, there was two parallel storylines in Trouble Me. The first was about the woman Jade has become and the conflict was that the old society biddies still held a grudge against Jade for her past mistakes and her mother's mistakes and therefore, they campaigned to have Jade lose her job. Perhaps it's because I didn't read the first book in the series, but I didn't really get the vendetta the old biddies had against the Radcliffe sisters and especially Jade. I thought their quest was superficial and laughable and those old biddies were really malicious. I mean, it's one thing not to like someone, but to campaign for them to lose their job? If they had succeeded, it would mean that Jade wouldn't have been able to live in Warburg and that's really extreme. And while I was happy Jade's sisters found something to hold over the old biddies' heads so they couldn't go ahead with their plans, I feel the message being sent is not right ^_^;

The second storyline was about Jade hiring a PI to find out who was her mother's lover from the diary... and the conflict was that she kept it a secret from Rob, to the point he was jealous of the PI and thought perhaps Jade was cheating on him. I guess you could sum it up to lack of trust on both parts. What I don't really understand in the story is why Jade kept it a secret from Rob. I don't think she had to tell him everything, but she could have at least told him the other guy was a PI. As for Rob, to jump to such conclusions... well as I said, lack of trust that wasn't really warranted. By the way, I did like the resolution of Jade's mommy issues, although the way it came about was a bit unbelievable.

Finally, I feel that Ms Moore missed an opportunity here. I thought the conflicts would have been more interesting if it stemmed from their joint pasts instead of these issues.

My Grade? B-. Good start, just too bad it didn't finish as strongly. I was hesitant about the grade, wavering between a B- or a C+, but in the end, there was a lot that I enjoyed :) And I'll definitively be reading more of Ms Moore's books in the future.