One Frosty Night
Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin SuperRomance, Nov 1 2014, $6.75
In Crescent Creek grandmother Marsha Connelly enters the snowy woods of the Cascades in pursuit of her dog Blarney. When she catches up to her Golden Retriever, Marsha finds the canine hovering over a dead teenage girl. Knowing the internet spotlight shines on them, the townsfolk provide a proper funeral for Jane Doe.
One month after the unidentified female was buried, Charles Bowen died. Four days after his burial, his widow Marian informs their adult daughter Olivia she plans to sell the house and probably the family business. Olivia is confused as she has been over the last few months when her parents’ seemingly happy marriage exploded, but unaware why her mom raged and now seems indifferent to their past. Olivia and her high school boyfriend, Crescent Creek HS principal Ben Hovik chat over what troubles Marian. He also struggles with his distracted stepson Carson Caldwell who lives with him since he divorced the teen’s mom. As Ben and Olivia fall in love, she learns that Jane Doe may be her half-sister and angers her boyfriend when she keeps Carson’s secret from him.
One Frosty Night is a well-written romantic suspense due to a three-dimensional cast in a serene frosty setting. The Jane Doe subplot is super and the second chance delightful; however, Olivia’s reaction to what caused her parental rift seems ho hum muted especially after how upset and angry she was with her mom before learning the truth.