Raising The Stakes
Harlequin Heartwarming, Apr 1 2015, $6.50
After a nomadic childhood and an attack in the Bronx, Vivienne Harris fled to the Adirondack’s farmhouse she inherited from her Great-Aunt Nancy and opened up Homestead Diner. When she investigates a noise at her home that she thought might be mischievousness caused by either or both of her roommates, Jinx the half-blind cat and Scooter the geriatric deaf dog. Instead Vivie finds a frightened bear cub eating her pies.
Though she thinks the house invader is as cute as a Button, Vivie fears the ferocious mother might be nearby. The 911 operator sends Conservation Officer Liam Walsh to her farmhouse. He warns her to be wary of poachers who orphaned the cub and strongly argues with the newcomer not to adopt the baby bear; but instead let him do the humane thing by killing the animal who is too young to survive in the wild. Vivie not only wants to save Button, she knows she needs Liam to do it.
This is a pleasant rural romance starring three wounded warriors who find love greatly diminishes their emotional traumas. The support cast at the diner, poachers and especially Vivie’s flat-mates add depth to a warm contemporary in which Liam ironically should quote WC Fields: "Never work with animals …” since Button steals the show and to a degree Vivie’s affection.