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Misfit Father    by Ann Evans order for
Misfit Father
by Ann Evans
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Misfit Father is a continuation of a series featuring the D'Angelo family. This story centers on Rafe, youngest son of Sam and Rosa D'Angelo, who also happens to be the black sheep of the family. In a Prologue, the reader is introduced to Rafe and his life in Las Vegas working in the casinos. He finds himself in big trouble after he tries to save a woman from being drugged and raped by two men.

The book fast forwards, and Rafe is now back in his home town of Broken Yoke, Colorado, where he wants to start over with his newly discovered daughter Francesca (Frannie), the result of a one-night stand. He also encounters that mystery woman from the casino, now working at the local office of the Daily Denver Telegraph. Danielle (Dani) Bridgeton is a reporter, relegated to covering small town news. She's bored and wishes she were back in Denver.

She and Rafe clash when they meet again, and their lives cross as she tries to find stories to write for the newspaper and Rafe begins renovation of the Three B's, an old historic building he recently bought, that is reportedly haunted. After they discover a hidden room, the entire town is buzzing with gossip about its contents, and Dani finally has a story she can sink her teeth into. Against Rafe's wishes, she begins to investigate, which soon leads her into trouble.

Rafe and his father Sam always had a strained relationship, and nothing has changed. Rafe is trying to prove to his father and the town that he's no longer the wild, irresponsible young man he used to be. And with a young daughter, Rafe is learning fast how to be a father. He's finding it's much more difficult than it looks, and at times feels he's up a creek because he does not know how to control his precocious daughter.

I loved the people in this story. As quirky as any small town set of characters can be, they reminded me of those populating a Richard Russo novel. There is a lot going on in Misfit Father but Evans does a good job making it all work. The one thing I didn't buy was the chemistry between Rafe and Dani, but I liked the way their relationship changed from distrust to friendship. Though I didn't read the previous books in this series, I bet they were just as enjoyable.

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