This time out, we're kicking off the November reviews with the latest Nora Roberts, Bed of Roses (Berkley), the second in her Bride series. This one has floral designer Emmaline Grant discovering that her own love may be right in front of her face. Jack Cooke has been in her circle of friends for years, but Emma follows the Rules, and the Rules say a friend's ex is off-limits. That doesn't mean she hasn't noticed how fine Jack is. Or that she hasn't wished he wasn't off-limits. Then one night when Jack comes to her rescue, she seriously considers breaking that particular Rule. Apparently, Jack feels exactly the same way, though he's not aware of the Rule she's been following, and their relationship shifts gradually from friends to something deeper. But Jack isn't looking for anything serious. He doesn't do serious; his parents set a terrible example for him when he was a child, and he shies away from anything more than casual as an adult. Except he can't quite walk away from Emma, even though he knows he should. And Emma knows she's got to work past Jack's considerable barriers if they're going to make their relationship work in the long term. This series is absolutely terrific, and we're only halfway through it with this one. Emma and her friends are the best of girlfriends, the kind every woman wishes she had, and Jack is a great guy, though as with lots of guys, he's got his faults. Nothing Emma can't work around, though. I've said it before and I'll repeat myself now: Nora Roberts is the queen of romance. Her stories are always terrific, filled with believable emotion--there's a scene late in this one that had me and a girlfriend both crying our eyes out--and peopled with characters so easy to imagine as real. This one's earned four and a half of Cupid's five arrows. The only bad thing about this is that we have to wait till May for the next story in the series.
Until next time, happy reading!