Synopsis from Goodreads: Photojournalist Shala Winters already had her hands full bringing tourism to this backward, podunk town, but her job just got tougher. Pictures can say a thousand words, and one of Shala's is screaming bloody murder. Now she has to entrust a macho, infuriating lawman with her life -- but she'll never trust him with her heart.
Trust or not, Sky Gomez isn't about to let a killer get his hands on Shala's Nikon -- or any of her more comely assets, for that matter. Her mouth might move faster than a Piney Woods roadrunner, but all he can think about is how good it must taste...and how she'll never escape true love.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
How acquired: Received from a BookCrossing member.
First line: “Is that war paint or love paint he's wearing?” a female voice rang out from behind Shala Winters.
My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Christie Craig, and the problem with discovering new to me authors is suddenly having a bunch of books to add to my wish list. Because I very much enjoyed SHUT UP AND KISS ME, and am now excited to look through my TBR books and realize that I already do have four of her other books waiting.
While in the small town of Precious, Texas, where she has been hired to come up with ways to promote tourism, Shala attends a powwow. Becoming disgusted by the raucous and disrespectful comments of the women sitting around her (see that first line above), and a little disconcerted by the dancing man who keeps staring intently at her, she gets up to leave. The mayor had warned her there was some members of the community who didn't want the town promoted and didn't want her here, and she thinks this guy must be one of them. As she turns in the bleachers to escape, her bag slides off her shoulder and her camera falls out. She hastily retrieves it, only to have the man suddenly appear in front of her, snatch it out of her hands, and dash away.
Sky Gomez sees a camera flash, and then sees Shala with a camera in her hands, so he jumps to the assumption that she took a picture, and per the sign posted at the gate, stating that cameras are strictly prohibited and will be confiscated, he quickly takes possession of it.
And that's Shala and Sky's meet cute. Although, they don't actually meet until after Shala has run all over town trying to track Sky down. Humor abounds here, from cover to cover, and there were many times I laughed out loud. Sky and Shala are both fun characters, both leery of love for their own reasons. Sky especially. His foster father, Redfoot, claims that the spirits told him in a dream that Shala is his soul mate, but while Sky is respectful of the old ways and participates in the powwows, he doesn't really believe in all that spirit stuff, and he certainly doesn't believe in soul mates. So before even meeting Shala he is already determined to keep his distance from her. Fortunately, he doesn't succeed. Someone is stalking Shala, and getting more and more violent, which throws Shala and Sky together as they try to figure out who, and why.
There are plenty of other characters with side plots keeping the book very busy. Maria, Sky's foster sister, has been in love with their foster brother, Jose, who is Redfoot's son, since she was a teenager, but just when she thought he might be returning her feelings he had taken off for a job in New York. Now she's dating Matt, a white boy, and while she thinks she's in love with him, she still can't stop obsessing over Jose. Plus she thinks Matt is cheating on her with his constant weekend trips to Dallas.
Jose couldn't wait to get out of Precious, but when Redfoot is injured, he rushes back home. Jose's arrival, and his first couple of days in town, played like a farce, as one thing after another happens to him. The string of events was almost over the top, but the author kept me laughing and engaged enough that I didn't mind. I wasn't sure at first if I liked Jose, but he grew on me.
Another character I particularly liked was Sky's friend, Lucas, a loner with a military past, law enforcement connections and a secret government job. Compared to the other characters above I guess he was a more minor character, but he seemed to open up and evolve a little in his brief time on the page, and I would have loved to see more of him.
After I finished the book, I went to the author's website, hoping there were or would be more books about this quirky little town (ok, hoping there was or would be one about Lucas), but alas, no. I did find an Epilogue to the story. However, after only reading about a third of it I navigated away as I didn't feel it really added to the story and was superfluous.
A light, sometimes silly, bordering on slapstick, romantic comedy, with a mystery at it's core, and a fun cast of characters.