Synopsis from Goodreads: The Lyon family matriarch has disappeared. And now her money's disappearing, too - bit by bit. Margaret Lyon's grandniece, Crystal Jardin, who looks after the family finances as well as those of the business, is growing more concerned every day.
The Lyons wait anxiously during this time of crises, hoping for word of Margaret. Then, as if Crystal's life wasn't complicated enough, she meets Caleb Tanner - and she falls for him. Hard. Even though Caleb's everything she doesn't want. He's too handsome. Too confident. And far too relentless. Can she afford to take a chance on her feelings?
Margaret's not there to give her advice, but Crystal knows what she would have said: Follow your heart.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by Harlequin Enterprises Limited; 1999; purchased at a library sale.
First line: Another three thousand dollars withdrawn from Margaret Lyon's private bank account!
My thoughts: I was drawn into this pretty quick, and really liked the character of Crystal. But, her all-out disdain for kids playing any kind of organized sport got on my nerves a little bit. She believes that kids should not play soccer, football or basketball because of the dangers of being injured and disabled for life. Exhibit 1 – Skip, a foster child in the hospital who was injured in a football game and may never walk again. Crystal plays with a jazz band on weekends, and also volunteers time at the children's ward of the local hospital, playing for the kids, and she has a soft spot for poor little Skip. Not only is he a foster child, but thanks to his need for a wheelchair, he may not be able to return to the foster family he lived with and his social worker, who happens to be Crystal's foster cousin, will have to locate a new placement for him. Coincidentally, (Exhibit 2) the several other boys in the same ward with Skip are all hospitalized due to sports related injuries. When Crystal got on her soapbox about how terrible these sports are, I wanted to shake her and say chill out, girl! Even though my daughter was injured in a soccer game and her ankle still occasionally bothers her several years later. But shit happens.
Caleb is also a patient in the hospital, with a sports related injury – he's a professional football player. And his injury may have ended his career, though he's having a very hard time facing that reality. Caleb took me a little longer to like. I'm not a fan of football, so his career certainly did not impress me. Actually I'm not a sports fan at all, though I loved watching my kid play soccer. But, you know, that's my kid and she was the best goalie around. Caleb is definitely a player, and I did think “gag me” right along with Crystal at the way he peppered his conversations with “darlin'” and “sweetheart”, etc. etc.
This is the third book in a series, “The Lyon Legacy”, and normally I’m very anal about reading series books in order, but with category romances I don't usually bother with that as much, especially when it's a multi author series, as this one is. But there are so many members of the Lyon family, working together at the broadcasting company they own, and many living together in the family mansion, that I was often confused about who was who, especially Andre and Alain, which is probably just because their names are similar. Yes, they are. Well, they both start with the letter A. And I'm old and get confused easily. The book has a family tree at the front, and I consulted it more than once. So I do think I would have benefited from reading the first two books before reading this one.
I warmed up to Caleb right along with Crystal, especially as we learned more about how he fought the state to keep his three younger sisters out of the foster care system after their parents died. The main storyline is about the Lyon broadcasting company wanting Caleb to come on board as their new sportscaster, and Crystal, who handles the company’s finances, finding herself being pushed into also handling this jock. And while she learns that he's certainly more than just an athlete in a sport she abhors, she doesn't ever really seem to change her opinion about sports in general. A little growth there would have been nice.
There is also a subplot about the family matriarch, Margaret, being missing, and money being mysteriously withdrawn from her bank account several times (which Crystal knows about as, again, she's in charge of the finances). A private detective is eventually brought in to try and track Margaret down, and I seriously had a hard time understanding why the family would not notify the police and file a missing person's report. It's not like they didn't care, they were all terribly worried about her, but hesitated to admit she might actually be a real missing person and not just off alone grieving for her recently deceased husband.
The Skip storyline was resolved nicely, even though one day Caleb was dead set against Crystal wanting to be his foster parent (and if that's a spoiler I apologize, but you should have seen it coming), and the next day he's suddenly on board with it. He had an epiphany apparently, but it was off page, and I would have liked it to have been explored more.
Overall I quite enjoyed the book. There's a lot of plot crammed into it's 299 pages and the action moved along nicely with the story never dragging. Plus, for some reason I just really like the cover picture, especially the girl laughing. But, I was disappointed when I turned the last page, and Margaret was still missing. Which means if I want to know what happened to her, I have to read the next book.
The rest of the series:
The Lyon Legacy (#1), by Peg Sutherland, Roz Denny Fox, and Ruth Jean Dale
Family Secrets (#2), by Ruth Jean Dale
Family Reunion (#4), by Peg Sutherland