Kate glanced at him, then shifted her gaze firmly back to the winding mountain road. “Why are you here, Donovan? Just tell me.”
“I told you. I saw the write up in the paper, saw you needed some help.” He lifted a shoulder in what he hoped came off as a nonchalant shrug. “I happen to be in the helping people line of business these days. Or you can just consider it assistance from an old friend.”
She snorted. “We were hardly friends.”
He didn’t look away. Couldn’t actually. The morning light was far more revealing than the porch light had been last night. “No, I guess we weren’t. Sentimental reasons, then. I grew up here, after all. Is it so strange to want to give back?”
She looked at him again, clearly suspicious. “You couldn’t be bothered to come home after your father was buried, and please forgive me if I’m being completely insensitive, but you don’t strike me as the sentimental type.”
Mac decided to drop all pretense. “You’re right about that. I’d just as soon never step foot back on this property. A lot of memories are tied up here, most of them bad.”
“Then my question stands. And don’t tell me it’s about some stupid newspaper article.”
“It’s the God’s honest truth that if not for that article, I wouldn’t be here. But, actually, it was Rafe who spotted it.”
“Rafael Santiago? You’re still in touch with him?”
“I work with him. Finn Dalton, too.” He raised his hand. “And my word is still good. Always has been. There have been times when that’s all I had, so I don’t give it lightly.”
She didn’t say anything to that, concentrating on the road instead. “So you’re saying the Unholy Trinity has this sudden vested interest in saving a rotting old camp because of some little newspaper write up.”
“Hardly little. It was the New York Times. And the headline was something about an heiress giving up her inheritance to take control of family lake property in order to open up a camp for disabled kids. Is that true?”
“Which part? That I swapped my inheritance with Shelby? Or that I’m planning on a camp for kids?”
“Perhaps you’re doing well enough on your own not to need Louisa’s money.”
“Does it look like I’m rolling in it, Donovan?”
“I have no idea what game you might be playing at. With Shelby involved and an inheritance worth a lot of zeroes, now vandalism, and rumors of developers being involved—“
Kate braked and abruptly pulled over. “Get out.”
“I’m just calling it like I see it. Do you want me to sugar coat it?”
“I want you to get out. And stay off camp property. My property.” She wasn’t looking at him, and her tone was flat and hard. But he saw the tremor in her jaw, the vein standing out in stark relief along the side of her neck, and the white knuckles gripping the steering wheel.
“Someone isn’t just spraying unhappy little messages on trees, Kate. Someone has been watching you,” he said without preamble. “You may not like me or what I have to say, or believe why I’m here, but that’s beside the point. The point is I have the resources to help get you out of whatever it is you’ve gotten yourself into.”
Her cheeks drained of color and she swallowed hard.
“You may not even know what you’re up against,” he said, a tad less stridently. “So stop looking the gift horse you have in the mouth and let me help you.”
Her chest rose and fell more quickly.
“Look at me.”
Her throat worked.
She swung her gaze to his, and there was no mistaking the fatigue, wariness, and the healthy dose of fear he saw there. “What?”
“To be perfectly honest, I haven’t the faintest freaking clue why I’m here. Maybe it’s some sort of whack karmic justice, or God having a really big laugh at my expense. All I know is that I felt—we all felt—like it was the right thing to do.” Now it was his turn to look away. Because he still wasn’t being completely truthful with her. “And maybe it’s because once I saw your picture, it stirred up a bunch of stuff I thought I was long done with. Stuff that not even my father dying stirred up.”
He felt her gaze flicker to his and looked up in time to catch it, hold it. “Meaning what?” she asked.
“Meaning we have unfinished business, you and me.”
“We don’t have any business. We never did.”
“I know.” His grin was slow, but it kept on growing until he saw the color steal back into her cheeks. “That’s the unfinished part.”
Bad boy Donovan MacLeod, illegitimate son of the drunken handyman, returns to the Catskills camp where he was scorned as a teenager to find out why Kate Sutherland is giving up her mother’s inheritance to turn the place into a camp for disabled children. Kate is getting the cold shoulder in town when she seeks workers to rehab the camp and law enforcement officials to find out who is vandalizing it.
Donovan once lusted after Kate, and she after him, but neither acknowledged their feelings. Now he volunteers himself and his organization, Trinity, to help her, knowing that his NYPD experience is more than adequate preparation for the job.
Kauffman provides such clever red herrings that the solution to the mystery is a real surprise, as well as funny, but it is watching good sex turn into love that makes this such a winner. And Trinity is shorthand for the “unholy trinity," referring to Donovan and two friends who were the hellions of their long-ago camp days. Readers will be happy to know that his cohorts’ tales will follow.
— Mary K. Chelton
* * * * *
THE BLACK SHEEP AND THE PRINCESS
* * * * *
Title: The Black Sheep and the Princess
Donovan “Mac” acLeod is going back. Back to his childhood home to the heiress who broke his heart. But she’s all grown up now and Kate Sutherland is no longer the princess he remembers. Will they have a second chance or will an unexpected threat tear them apart?
Donovan “Mac” MacLeod is all grown up. He used to be the son of the drunken caretaker at Winnimocca and part of the “Unholy Trinity” along with two of the best friends. However, after years of being a decorated detective, he has teamed up with his friends to become a security specialist. Yet, there is still some unresolved business and it revolves around Kate Sutherland, the rich girl. Even though they were miles apart in money and class, he never forgot her. Now he has the perfect opportunity to reconnect with Kate after reading about vandalism occurring on her property. Will Mac and Kate have a second chance or will the past be too much for them to overcome?
THE BLACK SHEEP AND THE PRINCESS is the first book in the Unholy Trinity
series. Mac has overcome a difficult childhood to become successful
with only his best friends as support. He thought he had left the past
behind him yet in one short newspaper article, he is hurtled back to
his childhood and the unattainable girl. But this time it’s different.
They are on equal footing and soon realize that the sexual heat and
tension has not dimmed but only intensified.
All Kate wants to do is create a refuge for ill children. It’s
her way of redefining the Sutherland legacy where her mother was known
for marrying for money instead of love. Kate is very different than
her mother. She wants to be able to bring happiness to others but realizes
that her name and her background would make people suspicious of her
intentions. When she is with Mac, she has to fight the constant battle
between his good intentions and her need to get him into bed. Their
verbal sparring is like foreplay but it also shows how Kate is more
than capable of dealing with this hot piece of testosterone. However,
I liked how her life isn’t all fun and games but more of hard
work. The secondary characters are very interesting. Some of them seem
perfectly fine on the surface but in the end play a more diabolical
role in the book which I wasn’t too fond of. They gave me the
heebie jeebies when all is said and done. However, Rafe and Finn more
than made up for it. They provided glimpses into the past as well as
snapshots into the future. I’m hoping that these two members
of the Unholy Trinity will be just as hot and virile as Mac.