By Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
February 25, 2014
Laine Carrington, the FBI agent who was injured in the raid on the cult from which Devon McAllister escaped (The Hero), is spending a year in Thunder Point, Oregon. Once she realized that her superiors were going to restrict her to desk duty until she had recovered 100 percent from the bullet wound and subsequent surgery, she requested a year’s leave of absence for rehab. Her reasons for choosing to spend that year in Thunder Point, three thousand miles from her home in Virginia and even farther from her family in Boston, are complicated, but she plans to take the time to rethink her career plans, get to know the people who saved her life, and enjoy the ocean view from her new home.
Eric Gentry, high school dropout and ex-con, is a reformed man. He returned to Thunder Point after more than a decade in Eugene and bought out the local service station, renovating it and expanding services into mechanics and body work. Eric enjoys his job, especially the classic car restoration, but his seventeen-year-old daughter is his real reason for moving. He has only known her for a year, but he is eager to be as much a part of her life as possible. Her senior year in high school is his last chance to be the father she has never had before she moves on to college and starting her life as an adult. Eric is not looking for a romantic relationship, but from his first look at Laine, he is hooked—and most of Thunder Point is aware of his interest.
When Eric is slow to act on his attraction, Laine takes the initiative and asks him out. Their first date is a success, and so is their first kiss. But Eric is determined to be honest with Laine about his past, and she responds with the same degree of openness. Just when it seems that an ex-con from a poor, working-class background and an FBI agent from a privileged background may be on the path to a happy ending, Laine’s complicated family problems surface. So do Eric’s insecurities. Is their relationship strong enough to survive these challenges?
The Chance is the fourth book in Carr’s Thunder Point series, and it’s a winner. Laine and Eric, although introduced in earlier books in the series, are both newcomers to Thunder Point. They are refreshingly adult characters who bring to their new lives baggage from their pasts which shapes but does not define them. I loved that Laine gets tired of waiting for Eric and asks him out, and I loved his response. That’s not the only bit of role reversal either. When Laine is clearly ready for physical intimacy, it is Eric who chooses to wait until they know each other better. The honesty of both characters is engaging, and it allows them to avoid the misunderstandings that keeping secrets could have created.
Fans of the series will be pleased to see favorite characters from other books make appearances in a manner that feels organic and does not distract from Laine and Eric’s story. The secondary romance between Eric’s rolling-stone friend, Al, and Thunder Point’s colorful realtor, Rae Ann, adds to the book’s appeal. Nobody does a better job than Carr of showing her readers that romance is possible at any age.
With two more books in this series scheduled for release in 2014, the Thunder Point books seem poised to rival the Virgin River series in longevity and popularity. I think The Chance is the strongest book in the new series, and I have enjoyed them all. I am particularly pleased that The Promise (June 24, 2014) will give readers the story of the widowed Dr. Scott Grant. Clearly the second chance theme that links the first four books will continue through the fifth one.
If you are a fan of small-town romances or of romances that develop in credible ways rather than rush to combustible consummation scenes, I highly recommend The Chance.
I read so many small-town romances that I have a difficult time choosing favorites. But Carr’s Virgin River and Thunder Point series are definitely on my top ten list. What series are on your list?