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Give Him the Slip    by Geralyn Dawson order for
Give Him the Slip
by Geralyn Dawson
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Mention Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Callahan to the residents of Brazos Bend, Texas and they'll favour outsiders with a laconic smile and launch into series of wild stories about the antics of the Holy Terrors of Texas. When the four brothers weren't cutting a swath through the local ladies they were out raising holy hell in one destructive form or another - until they burned down a local factory and put half the townsfolk out of work. Patriarch and widower Branch Callahan finally stepped in and declared that enough was enough. He kicked his teenaged sons out of town without a penny to their name, telling them to either straighten out or find themselves on the fast track to jail. Twenty years would pass before Branch Callahan saw any of his sons again.

After burying his partner, former DEA agent Luke Callahan is looking forward to a much-needed fishing vacation to bond with his brothers, spoil his recently rescued dog and figure out what he's going to do with the rest of his life. The last thing he wants to deal with is a redheaded stowaway clutching a goldfish bowl and spinning wild stories about murderous drug dealers hot on her trail. Once Luke takes a minute to mull over Maddie Kincaid's insane story, he realizes it has all the earmarks of another of his father's schemes to draw his sons back to Brazos Bend. Maddie swears on her mother's grave that she's telling the truth. Yes, Branch had urged her to seek Luke out, but only because the old man felt he was the only one who could help her. Kicking himself for a fool, and not a little drawn to the redheaded beauty, Luke agrees to check out her story. Before he can say Brazos Bend, he's back in his hometown sorting through clues - resurrecting old memories, both good and bad - and falling head over heels for a woman who turns his knees to jelly but has more secrets than the CIA.

Geralyn Dawson shifts easily from historical to contemporary romance in this nicely written, character driven story with a mild helping of mystery. Astute readers will figure out whodunit early on, but that's fine since the focus of the story really lies in the alternately amusing and poignant relationship that develops between Maddie and Luke. Both are relationship shy for various reasons that the author does a nice job in explaining. The fractured connection between Luke and his father is believable and at times heartbreaking. Dawson's often-eccentric secondary cast is also well drawn. Give Him the Slip is an entertaining light romantic suspense, the first in a projected series that continues with Matt's story.

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