Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: nice, a scene from the book!
Kim Aldredge is delighted that her dear college “sister” Jecca has found lasting love with Kim’s cousin Tristan. But despite her flourishing jewelry-making career, Kim’s own happiness seems as distant as the childhood summer when she played the hours away with young Travis Merritt, who came to Edilean with his mother under mysterious circumstances. At the end of that innocent season, he promised Kim he would return one day … and then vanished without even a goodbye. Years later, a worn photo is Kim’s only proof of the perfect joy they shared. But when she least expects it, Travis, now a savvy Manhattan attorney, will crash into her life once more. Will Kim see the boy she knew under the man he’s become?
After 25 years of reading her books, I am still a big fan of Jude Deveraux. She keeps her stories fresh and entertaining, and I can’t help but fall for her characters. Stranger in the Moonlight is no different.
18 years ago, in 1993, Kim Aldredge was 8 years old, and bored silly. Why did her mother drag her off to old Edilean Manor to spend their vacation, while her father and brother went fishing? There is nothing to do there but ride her bike, and she is getting tired of that as well. Luckily, the old guardian gave her a book to read, Alice in Wonderland, and she loves reading it while sitting in an old tree. Then one morning, the book is gone from the table, and she finds a boy in her favourite tree, reading it! How did he get her book? But he is not like any other boy she knows, her cousins would never read a book, they would torment her in stead, chasing her, pinching her and throwing mud at her. But this boy is polite, and gives back her book when she yells at him.
Young Travis is 12 and home tutored, and Kim quickly figures out something is wrong back at his place, or why would his mother be hiding out here? Travis has no idea how to have fun, how to play or ride a bike. Lucky for him, Kim is an expert at having fun, and she quickly teaches him everything she knows. He has a talent for riding her bike, and is over the moon when he gets his own bike. For two weeks, the two children are inseparable, enjoying themselves. And then, one morning, Travis and his mother have disappeared, and Kim is inconsolable. He promised he would come back one day, but will he really?
It is now 2011, and Kim is happy in her life, and her chosen profession as a jewellery maker. She is good at it, and is making a nice living out of it. But something is missing. Her friends and cousins are all getting married after finding true love, and she wants to have a family of her own. She still lives in Edilean, and she still dislikes the big manorhouse. She has a boyfriend she likes, but is not in love with. Still, will she accept him if he proposes to her?
Travis never forgot about Kim, but he had his own life, standing up to his father, protecting his mother. But he did demand physical exercise to be a part of his studies, and excelled at everything. He became a daredevil, an adrenaline junkie, and even worked as a stuntman in Hollywood. Until his father blackmailed him in coming back home to work for him, as Travis is also a very good attorney, and his father’s ruthless business needs him. In order to protect his mother, who finally ran away with a few of his father’s millions, Travis has no choice. Lucky for him, his father’s secretary decided to go work for him, to teach him the ropes. And Penny sure is some secretary, organizing everything in the office and in his personal life for him. Then his mother calls, telling Penny she wants to remarry, and Travis is to get her a divorce from her father. That will be one hell of a fight, knowing his father! But first, Travis wants to check out this man his mother fell in love with. Is he after her money? Or does he love her back? And what kind of man is he?
His mother has been living in Edilean for the last 4 years, and has a blossoming clothes designer business. She has been avoiding meeting Kim for the last 4 years as well, sure that Kim would recognize her, and blab about it to everyone who she really is. And yes, Kim would never have been able to keep that secret.
So Travis is finally on his way to Edilean, to his mother, and to Kim. He has kept track of Kim all those years, thanks to the internet that was not difficult. But he did not know that he would arrive in the middle of a big wedding, and that he would meet Kim again, dressed in a gorgeous bridesmaids dress. He glibly asks for her help in finding out about his mother’s betrothed, not knowing she is offended by that. Joe Layton is her best friend’s father and some kind of father figure to herself as well! He is a great man, and certainly not after money!
With some scheming, Travis invites himself to stay in Kim’s tiny guesthouse, and Kim is asking herself what she was thinking. He really is not that little boy she fell in love with 18 years ago! Even though she never forgot about him. Her brother and her cousin, the sheriff, are concerned about Travis, they don’t trust him not to have ulterior motives. After all, Kim is a very successful business woman. They don’t want some stranger to take advantage of her.
Travis is still hiding his true identity from Kim and the rest of Edilean, he doesn’t want to be judged by his father’s reputation and money. His relationship with Kim is not progressing as he was hoping, and she has a boyfriend! He did not know that, and is totally put out of sorts by it. Of course, he immediately has Penny find out everything she can about the guy, and with the help of her son, who totally dislikes Travis for some reasons, he sets out to best him. Ofcourse Kim is not happy with their “help”, she knew what Dave was after, she is not stupid, and she could have given him his congo herself. Travis really has some grovelling to do now…
I really enjoyed this book. At first, I disliked Travis for not keeping in touch with Kim, which would have been very easy for him to do. He did keep tabs on her after all. But she never knew more than his first name, so she could not do the same. And reading about some mega rich Travis and his jetsetting ways, she never made the connection. But now Tavis is back in Kim’s life, and he wants to be just friends? She wants more, she wants to go for it, and have wild sex with him before he leaves her again, but he has already declined her. But the attraction between them is very real, so why not act on it?
I really enjoyed Kim’s character. She really is a smart woman, and was on to Travis from the start. She did help him get to know Joe Layton, and the fun thing is, they both went to him for relationship advice. And he took advantage of them by getting free labor in his new hardware store.
I loved the plot of this book, it was full of surprises, and his father the biggest of them all. As secondary characters, Penny and her son were awesome. I had a feeling of coming home, reading this Edilean book. Jude Deveraux has a nice and fluent writing style, very easy to read, and to connect with all the characters. I love her sense of humor. If you have not read the previous books, you can read this as a stand alone, there is a little bit about previous couples, but certainly no info dump. I do recommend this series to all lovers of contemporary romance.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian