SMALL TOWN GIRL

Author(s): 
Former Nashville guitarist Flynn Clinton, aka Flint, returns to his small hometown as the new owner of a rundown coffee house. He's looking to earn some much-needed cash, make a home for his estranged sons and, possibly, find a new woman -- a quiet, mousy, nurturing type, not another ambitious glam-girl like his ex-wife.

Joella Sanderson, an outspoken waitress at Flint's coffee house, has always had stardust in her eyes and music in her soul. In her experience, male musicians are lying, cheating scoundrels. So, when she meets Flint, she's sure he's the same. But soon Jo and Flint discover they have more in common than major trust issues. They both have a score to settle with a common enemy -- but it's one that puts them on opposite sides of the lawyer's table.

The author helps these characters grow and battle their conflicts in a compelling way. The hero and heroine, who begin as likable but seemingly simple protagonists, become more sympathetic and complex as Rice's story progresses. The sexual tension between Jo and Flint is palpable, and the small-town community provides a warm, often humorous setting for their burgeoning romance. (Mar., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Marilyn Weigel