Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Strings by Gerri Hill

Publisher:              Bella Books

Gerri Hill delivers one of her better crafted stories in No Strings.

Forest Ranger M.Z. Morgan has come to love life in tiny Lake City, Colorado.  Sure, everyone knows everything that is going on in her life, but, except for the deep snows in the winter, the people and quiet life there suit her nature completely.  Being the only lesbian in town means her social life is limited to when the tourists arrive for the summer, but she finds that easier to deal with than the fact that the entire town is trying to find her a woman to settle down with.  When Reese Daniels arrives to be the interim sheriff for a year the rumor mill kicks into high gear.  To the local people the fact that there are now two lesbians seems to work out perfectly, even though Morgan and Reese don't exactly hit it off at first.  Reese takes her job very seriously and makes it clear that she views this as a period in exile for certain "indiscretions." Her stay will not be extended any longer than necessary.  Eventually the women find themselves becoming friends and decide to form a relationship as "friends with benefits."  Why not take care of each other's physical needs for a while as long as they both understand there are "no strings attached?"  The winter is long and cold and the comfort is nice.  Great in fact.  Really, really great.  The coming spring may melt more than just the snow and there may be strings that they didn't anticipate.

Some of Gerri Hill's novels have been a little flat and routine recently, but No Strings breaks that pattern.  Hill demonstrates some of her stronger abilities in crafting a story.  The characters of Morgan and Reese are feisty and well developed.  The sparring that goes on between them reveals deeper aspects of their personalities instead of the reader just being "told" about them.  The atmosphere in the town flows off of the pages and the quirkiness of the people adds to the story.  One of the better parts of the book is the struggle Reese goes through trying to adapt her professional standards to a small town and its oddities.  The supporting characters are totally believable and help to add depth and humor to the situations.  This is a standard romance with girls meeting and coming together, but the characters are a little more engaging than usual.  There is an interesting tension that runs between the environment, the people and the situations and makes this more than just a romance.  

Gerri Hill's die-hard fans will enjoy this book, but readers who might have found some of her recent books lackluster should find that she has returned to her stronger style.  

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