Five Star, Jan 2009, $25.95
Seattle resident Leigh Cole hates wide open water ever since a childhood tragedy so she wonders why she is flying over the Pacific to Hawaii even as she knows the answer is she owes her boss seventy-eight year old Kearny Enterprises CEO Olivia Kearny for mentoring her. Olivia is ill and wants to see her estranged grandson whom she raised when his parents died in an accident.
At Mike’s Banyon Grill, Olivia meets Deke who is Olivia’s grandson. He refuses to go home as he does not believe her and besides he is a single dad raising his son Sammy. However, he reconsiders his options when Sammy’s mother Courtney who abandoned the child at birth tries to blackmail Deke into giving her money or face a custody challenge by her father, an Illinois senator. His lawyer advises him to avoid Washington State because he can probably win a court case on the islands, but it is not as likely on the mainland. Deke and Leigh fall in love, but he does not trust businesswomen or her agenda in particular while she never obtained closure from that childhood trauma that still haunts her today.
This is an interesting family drama with a contemporary romantic subplot accentuating the relationship issues between the generations. For instance Leigh blames herself for the tragedy while her dad believes she blames him as he does too; their inability to communicate makes the suffering worse for them and her mom. Communication is also a problem between Deke and his grandma. Although the Courtney subplot showcases her desperation to do anything, it seems over the top by those demanding money from her. Still even with the late suspense that appears out of place for the loan sharks, fans will relish this solid tale of healing relationships.