The Valentine Two-Step by RaeAnne Thayne Release Date: February 1, 2002 Publisher: Harlequin Special Release Book #1 in the Outlaw Hartes series Number of pages: 214 Kindle Edition Source: MCL Contemporary Romance M/F Rating: NC-17 Read 9/2/18 to 9/3/18
Much like I’ve been trying to find as many older works of Jill Shalvis, I’ve decided to do the same with RaeAnne Thayne. I always enjoy her stories and she has an extensive back library. This was my second dive into the author’s past. This was the oldest of her works I found that was readily available. I’ll admit, this one was at my online library and didn’t have any holds on it. That meant that when my other books I had checked out had holds or weren’t able to be renewed for another reason I just kept renewing this one…over and over and over. As much as I adore this author’s Hope’s Crossing and Haven Point books, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to read her older works. So, I had two days before this one is due back…again. Did I really want to just keep renewing the thing? It’s not too long of a book, I decided to try to squeeze it in to my reading schedule.
I am so glad I did. I loved this story. The chemistry between Ellie and Matt is off the charts amazing. Their prickly attitude toward one another is perfectly portrayed as two kids who have crushes and don’t want to admit it to anyone, even themselves. It was a lot of fun to read about their interactions.
There’s a bit of a mystery that occurs in this story. I don’t classify it as a mystery myself because I think to most readers certain things are obvious so it’s really not as much a mystery to the reader as it is to the characters. And there are some surprises along the way.
Ellie grew up knowing she could only trust herself. That it was almost dangerous to rely on anyone else. Her mother was a terrible role model for the little bit of time she was actually in her life. The father of her child is a flake. Everything Ellie has accomplished in her life has been done with absolutely no outside help or support. It’s not surprising she has so much trouble letting Matt in all the way.
For his part, Matt has been burned badly. The difference between Matt and Ellie is that Matt will react and speak out of anger and realize later he overreacted…and then apologize. Ellie doesn’t even see how brutal she can come across when she has her guard up so solidly against any sort of outside interference in her daily life. There are no apologies or compromises when it comes to Ellie. That means this couple has some struggles learning to cope with each other. Plus, they have their daughters (who are best friends) to worry about in the whole scenario.
This story was a delight and I only wish I could find the other books in this series so I can get the scoop on Matt’s siblings. This family is wonderful. I’ll be keeping my eye out at the used book store for sure!