TBR Day. Déjà You / Lynda Sandoval. 2007
Keishon's 2009 TBR Challenge kicks off today. This year we've been challenged to read specific types of books each month and this month's theme is category romances. I admit that not so long ago I looked down my nose on categories, but I have come to appreciate how difficult it must be to craft a good read with such a limited word count. I've been fortunate to read dozens of good categories over the last few years and I do like the fact that they're easy on the pocketbook. At any point in time I have 6-10 of them on my PDA and this month's selection is one that's been there for over a year now.
Déjà You is the second in Lynda Sandoval's "Troublesome Gulch" miniseries, published in the Silhoutte Special Edition line from Harlequin. Troublesome Gulch is a ficticious Colorado mountain town where 12 years ago, on prom night, a horrible accident occured, leaving broken lives and broken hearts. The survivors all chose careers in emergency services (police, firefighting, etc.) and eventually find faith, hope, and love. Each book in the series is about one of the survivors of the prom night tragedy.
I first saw the series on Fictionwise last January, when the 3rd book, You and No Other was released. I bought all three, read (and enjoyed) the first one, The Other Sister, but never got around to reading the other two. Until this week.
From the blurb: When a deadly apartment blaze sparked memories of the prom night accident that took her fiancé and unborn baby, firefighter Erin DeLuca ran...and lost herself for just one night. Erin was left pregnant, and the stranger who'd offered solace was nowhere to be found. Until he showed up in Troublesome Gulch. And irony of ironies, Nate Walker was a pyrotechnics engineer—and when he saw the mystery woman who got away, now very pregnant, his entire being lit up. For Erin, it was a déjà vu moment brighter than any fireworks display—not about reliving pain, but about the joy of being in the arms of a loving man....
Erin became a firefighter after the prom night accident. Her prom gown caught fire that night and she was left with burn scars over a large portion of her torso. She's had no other significant relationship with a man since her fiancé died. The book opens with her fighting a fire in which a young man dies, leaving behind a pregnant wife. The memory strikes too close to home and Erin hops in her car, drives to Denver and ends up having a one-night stand with Nate. All she knows is Nate's first name, so when she winds up pregnant she has no way to contact him. Fortunately, Nate shows up in town as he's been hired to engineer the town's July 4 fireworks and Erin's on a task force to make sure no wildfires ensue. Both are haunted by memories of the other and both are shocked to see one another again.
The book is mostly about Erin and Nate getting to know one another, agreeing to be parents together, and eventually falling in love with one another. There was a lot to like in this book. First, when they end up sleeping together they actually have a talk about protection. Erin's convinced she can't have children because of all of the scar tissue and she hasn't been with anyone since prom night. Second, when Erin and Nate meet again, Erin apologizes for running out on Nate and making it impossible for either one to contact the other. She acknowledges her mistakes. Third, Erin realizes that in order to have a future with Nate, she has to put her past behind her once and for all.
For the most part, this book seemed very real to me. There was one section near the end where Erin has a dream that was a little too other-worldly for my taste, but I could see how it would appeal to many. Nate was a typical beta hero--all around nice guy who insists on being there to help raise his child, but doesn't come across like an HP Greek tycoon insisting upon marriage. The book is nicely paced and the action and dialogue move it along well. Other characters from the town who have been, or will be, featured in the other books are there, but don't detract from Erin and Nate. There's just enough information so that you could read this on its own. I really enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it to you if you're looking for a good category read.