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A Difficult Woman    by Jeannie Watt order for
Difficult Woman
by Jeannie Watt
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Tara Sullivan is a woman with a chip on her shoulder. She's not very nice, not very friendly, and has a bad reputation. People talk about her and her no-good family. When Matt Connors arrives in town to help his step-uncle Luke - who is working for Tara, converting an old Victorian house into a bed and breakfast inn - he finds Tara downright cold.

As Matt gets to know Tara better, however, he sees the real woman behind the mask. Tara and her younger brother Nicky have had to live with their family's reputation. Since she couldn't change this, she simply endured the town's scrutiny every day. Making matters worse is her history with Ryan Somers, the town's good-looking, rich bachelor. All the girls were in love with him, but Tara knows what he was really like, and it wasn't pretty.

After a few false starts, Matt and Tara become a team, trying to fix up the Victorian house in time for the huge town reunion, only days away. Tara is racing to fix up the place so she can open it to the public and accept her first boarders. But the Somers, both father and son, are out to get her, finding ways to slow down her progress. They don't want any competition from her B&B, despite the fact that her establishment wouldn't make much of a dent in the customer base for the Somers' larger hotel. Tara only wants to make a living and save her Victorian building from being repossessed.

What I liked about this story was Tara's difficult character, making her friendless from the start. She made an interesting heroine, as she slowly learned to let go of her anger, and accept other people in her life. Matt had his own secrets, and while he was a much nicer person than Tara, they had a lot more in common than was obvious. A Difficult Woman was a good debut by Jeannie Watt, and I'm looking forward to more.

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