Ex-Marine Walker Buchanan is on a quest to deliver a letter to the girlfriend of a buddy who was killed in battle. But Walker has only her first name. The place he's renting puts him right in the path of single mom Elissa Towers and her 5-year-old daughter, Zoe.

Men are not high on Elissa's list of priorities, but when her tire blows, Walker's ability to remove lug nuts comes in handy. Since both Walker and Elissa are wary of relationships, they insist they are only friends, but their libidos make maintaining that relationship difficult. Another fly in the ointment is Walker's frighteningly controlling grandmother Gloria, the matriarch of the family restaurant group, who thrives on terrorizing all those around her. Gloria has made it clear she wants Walker in the Buchanan business and Elissa out of his life.

"Dysfunctional" is a good way to describe both the Buchanan and Towers families. Mallery does her usual excellent job of taking characters with issues and making them riveting. This second Buchanan book will make readers hungry for the next chapter of this twisty family drama. (Jul., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith