Police Officer Dare Barron has had a crush on Liza McKnight ever since he was a teenager. But despite his lifelong attraction, the closest he’s ever come to interacting with her is watching Liza regularly bail out her brother at the station. Dare’s dark past with Liza’s brother, Brian, has always kept him from pursuing her. But suddenly Liza finds herself in need of protection and Dare appoints himself as the man for the job. And while the sizzling attraction between Dare and Liza draws them together, the past that Dare and Brian share threatens to keep the two apart forever.
I choose books to read for many, many different reasons. I might like the cover, like the blurb, like the author, etc. But, I read “Karma” for a very strange reason. On the evening of February 5, 2012, the New England Patriots lost the Superbowl. After the game, I was way too wired (and yes devastated) to sleep. I needed something great to read that would make me happy, keep me entertained and lessen the loss. Since Carly Phillips is a fellow Patriots fan (I learned this via Twitter during football season), it seemed fitting to console myself with her upcoming book “Karma.” I had never read anything by Phillips before, and this felt like the perfect time. And “Karma” was a perfect balm. Dare Barron’s tortured soul greatly helped to soothe my tortured soul on that dark night.
Dare Barron has had a crush on the untouchable Liza McKnight for most of his life. The perceived chasm was cemented by Dare’s presence at a party thrown by Liza’s brother when Dare was a teenager. Already an addict, Liza’s brother Brian was involved in an incident that left another party goer dead. While Dare was scared straight by the incident, Brian wasn’t – his life of wealth and privilege allowing him and his family to hide the true events of that night.
Now a police officer, Dare deals with Brian and his troubles repeatedly. He believes that Liza enables her brother, making Brian’s situation worse. Yet, Dare is still attracted to her – and he learns that the attraction is mutual. The two become involved, but Brian’s problems are a huge stumbling block for them. The situation gets worse when people to whom Brian owes money start harassing Liza.
The major conflicts in this book surround Dare’s feelings of guilt about his role in the death at Brian’s long-ago party and Dare and Liza’s opposing beliefs on how to handle Brian’s current situation. Dare has become the person that he is because of his guilt and his reactions to Brian’s situation. He has a hard time with Liza’s need to protect and coddle Brian, especially once Brian’s actions put Liza in danger. These conflicts felt very real, and I did wonder at time whether Dare and Liza would be able to overcome them. Fortunately, Phillips does an excellent job resolving these issues.
One of my favorite things about this book is the Barron family. “Karma” is part of a series set in a town called Serendipity, and it chronicles the lives and loves of the Barrons. While I was not lost by starting the series with “Karma,” I do believe that I would have appreciated Dare, his family and his happily ever after had I started the series at the beginning. Also, there are some continuing threads that began earlier in the series.
My first thought when I finished “Karma” was ‘How have I not read Carly Phillips before?’ I fell in love with Dare early on in the book, and really enjoyed the way that Phillips mixes sexy romance and family intrigue into one great story. While there are some dark moments, “Karma” is a feel-good tale that can combat even the most devastating of lows caused by significant sports-related disappointments.
Buy this book from Amazon now!
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Book Disclosure: A book was provided by the publisher.