Kathy's Reviews > Almost Like Being in Love

Almost Like Being in Love by Christina Dodd
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Oct 06, 11

bookshelves: romance
Read from October 03 to 06, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Dan Graham - son of a ranch owner, good looking, attracted the girls, cocky... at 17 he took a liking to rebel, new to town Pepper. She ignored him, and ignored him, until he finally figured out how to spend time with her - at her home, with her foster mother, baking cookies, working in the garden, helping out at the ranch, where they got to be friends... and at a party, in reaction to meanness said about her, Pepper snagged Dan, and they kissed him - and they spent a lot of time kissing... but one night, they crossed into intercourse, and Pepper got scared and ran away...

Pepper Prescott - middle Prescott daughter, rebellious, tantrum throwing - at age 8, when her parent's were murdered, and the town separated the children, she ended up on the west coast in foster homes - she did not adjust well - but at 16 found herself with Mrs. Dreiss, in Idaho, who looked past the tattoos and the piercings and accepted and guided her, shared her love of her garden & of cooking. but when she had sex with Dan, and was overwhelmed with the fear of the future, she ran away - and for 9 years, she moved at a momen'ts notice, changing her name - but continued to send Mrs. Dreiss seeds and clippings of plants for her garden. And she's getting settled - in great part to the books written by General Jennifer Napier, who had a difficult childhood, a rebellious youth, and took control of her life. Pepper has a landscaping business, and she goes to a book signing with Napier - tells her own story to an apparently sympathetic Napier - and returns after the store closes with a book to sign for a friend - and thinking on Napier's advice to not let anything stand in your way, and seeing her car in the lot, heads to the back of the building... and overhears her assistant confront her about terrorist activity, and Napier shooting her assistant. She drops her books (drawing the general's attention), and runs - escaping - picking up her alternate ID & cash ... and 7 days later, she's in Idaho - going back to Mrs. Dreis...

Except Mrs. Dreis has passed away, she has inherited the ranch, and Dan has been staying at the ranch. Dan is recovering, both physically and mentally, from his last tour in special forces, where he took a shot in the gut & the family he was 'courting' for information is blown to bits - including their 4 year daughter... He had killed the terrorist's son, and was at the ranch to be the terrorist's target - to draw him out... He had looked for Pepper after Mrs. Driess' death, and both are very surprised to find each other there.

and Dan expresses himself with action - not even having the words in his own head - he kisses her right off, he feeds her Mrs. Dreiss' cookies, he gives her the hat that he had shyly gifted her with 9 years earlier, he overwhelms her with sex - taking control, and he watches her - at first suspicious that he is part of the terrorist plot, seeing through her lies (she does has trust issues), urging her to tell him the truth so that he can help and protect her... And Pepper is lost, wanting to trust her feelings, to trust him... he takes her to the cabin where they had made out many times (but is now fortified for the anticipated attack - along with all sorts of warning systems, and booby traps on the property)... and he gives her the letters that Mrs Dreiss wrote to her over the years... and Pepper feels anchored for the first time, and hears Mrs. Dreiss' voice encouraging her to tell Dan the truth - for his protection as well as to help her...

and in the meantime, Hope, Zack, Gabriel, and the butler are closing in... and though at first believed Napier's sincerity in helping them, quickly realize Pepper is in big trouble...

and when she goes to Dan - and tells him, he interprets her trust as her love - and expresses his love for her in passion (though it requires her submission to him , hmmmm)... and he ties General Napier as the last key in the terroist plot - and she is nearby...

and Pepper is scared - and tries to leave him - and he says hurtful, distrustful things to her - but he gets her to the cabin, and they unite as they hold the enemy (and there are a lot), and the backup finally gets there - and Napier is captured. and Hope and Gabriel are at the house - welcoming her, assuring her they were always looking for her - and Hope delivers the baby (yeah, Zach brought the midwife, just in case) - and Pepper turns away from Dan - and Dan makes her listen to him, to his regret, his apology, his challenge not to run like she usually does - and she defends Dan when Napier grabs a gun form her captor, shooting the gun from Napier's hand...

and she spends a week in Washington being debriefed (with Zach's lawyer right at her side)... she spends 3 weeks with Hope, Gabriel, and the new baby... and she tries hard not to think of Dan. But Hope sends her home - a friend from Idaho calls up and she is invited to Dan's parent's wedding - and Dan is sad, feels her presence but doesn't see her - goes back to the ranch - and she's not in any room he looks for her - he goes into his room to change - and the hat is on the bed -and he turns, and she is there reaching out for him. ahhhhh
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