This O'Brien story has a hero who is a
bit too egotistical to like unreservedly. However, there are a number of other interesting and irritating characters and the rocky road to love is entertaining with a nicely satisfying end.
Being left at the altar, followed by her parents' death in a car accident has left Aislinn McCafferty a bitter, independent sheep farmer. Liam O'Brien is in Ballycraig, Ireland, because he's on the lam from the Irish mob in New York. When he first meets her, she sparks his interest, leading him to make a bet that he can get her to go out with him. Yet, when Liam does get Aislinn interested, he likes her so much he wishes he hadn't made the bet. Aislinn also finds herself enjoying Liam's company. Yet with an aging employee who is more like family, a visiting sister with suspicious motives and the knowledge that any day Liam might be free to return to New York, it's no surprise that the road to love is full of potholes -- the biggest one being that bet. (BERKLEY SENSATION, May, 352 pp., $7.99)