The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Stroke of Luck by B.J. Daniels is the first of three in this new series. Known for mixing romance and danger this one concentrates more on the relationship than the danger, a slight change from her past novels.
“I wrote it as more of a romance than a mystery. My editor suggested I do this. I tried it but feel it is not what I really want to do. I think people read me for the suspense. If people want a true romance they can find it elsewhere. In this novel, it worked well to have the relationship more up front and the hero/heroine not personally involved in the mystery. For the other books in the series I went back to having the main focus on the danger that is intertwined with the relationship. The next book will focus on another brother of the dude ranch who rescues a woman physically threatened by a man.”
Also different is the personality of the heroine. Daniels noted that Poppy Carmichael “is strong, but not an in-your-face person who argues with the hero. I tried to make her more poised with a quiet confidence. On the other hand, my protagonist, Will Sterling, is typical of my heroes. He is laid back, cocky, sensitive, and caring. He regrets how the friendship with Poppy ended.”
The setting is a dude ranch in Glacier Park Montana. A large corporation has rented it during the winter for a retreat. After the cook breaks his leg, the ranch owner, Will, is forced to call upon a childhood friend Poppy, now a caterer. The problem is that twenty years ago, as a teenager, he broke her heart.
“The reason I wrote them on a dude ranch in Whitefish Montana was to have them isolated. It is surrounded by mountains, pine trees, and lakes. There is no television and no cell phone service. The only way to communicate is with the one land line in the lodge. Everyone was back to nature.”
Set on revenge Poppy hopes to seduce him with food, using the old saying, “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” She wanted to get him to want her, then she would walk away, and break his heart, as he did to her. Unfortunately, a major snowstorm turns the retreat into a cold atmosphere. Someone is killing people there without any escape.
“I love to cook and wanted to write one of my characters as a great chef. The way I show love, which I passed on to Poppy, is through my cooking and baking. At our house. we have a lot of guests come and go so my husband, who is also a great cook, and I make sure no one leaves hungry. The three recipes in the back of the book are ones I personally cook.”
Readers are left guessing who is the culprit and will Poppy and Will renew their relationship in this western-style romance-thriller.