Erin Kern seems to be a wonderful product of the modern age of books. As far as I can tell, she released the first two books of her Trouble series on her own in 2011, prior to them being picked up by Forever Romance, a division of Grand Central Publishing, which has re-released the first two books in January 2013. Kudos to Forever’s editors for recognizing the voice of an author who has a handle on what a small-town romance should sound like.
Here Comes Trouble stars Chase McDermott, an all-around sinful bad boy who is no stranger to the beds of women in the vicinity of Trouble, Wyoming. He’s got plenty on his mind with the rash of petty thefts at the family restaurant he manages, his six-month old niece he enjoys spoiling rotten, and one blond sassy waitress whose buttons he loves to push.
Lacy Taylor’s life has not turned out how she might have liked. A mother who abandoned her, a drug addict father who has spent more time in jail than out of it, and the recent loss of the grandfather who raised her all add up to serious trust issues when it comes to people staying in her life. That she’s inherited her rundown family home, along with her grandfather’s aging mastiff, Boris, is icing on the cake and her waitressing money isn’t exactly generous. Her art is a constant solace but something so private she only shares it with her best friend, Brody McDermott. That she might entertain some fantasies about Brody’s brother and her boss at the restaurant doesn’t matter because nothing will ever come of it. Never.
You know what they say about “never”? Uh-huh. Chase’s eyes are opened to the idea that the woman he loves sparring with has grown up from the skinny kid who hung out with his brother to an independent hottie with a streak of vulnerability that calls to Chase in a way no woman ever has. They burn up the sheets but each of them possesses strong instincts to keep people at arms length, yet they find themselves putting those aside during their uber-hot hookups. But life has a tendency of throwing curveballs, and Chase and Lacey get more than a few, putting their pseudo-relationship to an acid test it may or may not survive.
Not only did I enjoy the small town romance atmosphere of Kern’s novel, but I was incredibly impressed at her smooth juggling of several subplots. On top of Chase, Lacey is dealing with the resurfacing of her jailbird father, money trouble (the not-having it and then the having it kind), nosy neighbors, work issues, a crisis of confidence regarding her art, and eventually some pretty serious health concerns. Chase has got an overbearing father who is also his boss, a mystery employee who is stealing from him, family stuff, and a woman who he cannot get enough of but who might very well want nothing to do with him, even after he decides he wants her in his life for good. Kern also had the couple’s relationship evolving so naturally and over a reasonable amount of time (and these are two people who have known one another for years) that the feeling of the novel is one of realism without the boredom you might expect from a novel that actually reflects true life. 🙂 It takes a deft hand to manage this and I found myself impressed.
My only real criticism of the book was that the ending felt abrupt to me but it was satisfying enough that I could put that aside. I was more than tantalized with the sample chapter for the third book in the series, Along Came Trouble, which will be Brody’s book. I do feel a writer with this much talent needs to flesh out her Goodreads account and her website, both of which are rather basic and feel unpolished compared to the quality of her prose. It seems like Erin Kern spends more time on Facebook and Twitter (which is great) but I would hate to see her sacrifice fans looking for other means of connection.
A huge bonus for readers is the wonderful affordability of this series. Value for your dollar abounds with these books (each well over 350 pages) costing under $3.00 for the ebook versions and only around $5 for the paperback imprint. Well done, Forever Romance! I hope this combination of quality and value will have even more readers trying these novels on for size. I think they’ll find themselves welcoming a little Trouble into their lives and hearts in no time.