Title: The Trouble with Charlie
Author: Catherine Bennett
Publisher: Astraea Press
Love. Desire. A psycho bent on revenge. But can Charlie Reynolds recognize the most dangerous of the three?
Since being out on her own at eighteen, Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a street-smart “good” girl who hides her desire for love and security behind her feisty and independent personality. She just never expected a more noxious hero than wealthy, self-consumed Evan Gardner, the CEO and founder of Valley Tech., a successful software company in Los Angeles. From the moment Evan rescues her from an apparent random attack, their attraction for each other bubbles just below the surface of all-out passion.
Charlie Reynolds is a woman from the poor side of town. Evan Gardner lives in an exclusive neighborhood and owns a software company. They meet when Charlie is attacked during her usual morning run through Evan’s neighborhood. After learning about her circumstances, he offers her a job as au pair for his eight-year-old daughter, Abigail. Charlie realizes it’s an offer she can’t refuse. What follows is an unlikely, reluctant romance between two stubborn hearts. Can Evan and Charlie overcome their prejudices and past hurts in order to make a relationship work?
Although touted as a romantic suspense, The Trouble With Charlie seems more like a romance with some suspense. There are a few incidents that endanger Charlie, but the fear and apprehension each causes is soon lost in the tempestuous relationship between Charlie and Evan. The development of that relationship is an adventure in itself, and poor versus rich prejudices rear their heads quite often. The advice and opinions of friends on both sides only serve to fan the flames of conflict between Evan and Charlie in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of the movie Pretty in Pink.
Despite the on again, off again progress made by both Evan and Charlie toward letting go of preconceived notions and accepting their attraction to each other, two of the main driving forces that consistently bring them together are anger and frustration. Nearly every argument ends in a kiss and/or a realization of how much they care about each other—a realization both tend to keep to themselves instead of sharing and easing the angst between them.
One character, however, experiences consistent growth—Evan’s daughter, Abigail. The child thrives under Charlie’s care, and Abigail’s relationship with her father steadily improves. Abigail is also a unifying factor in Evan and Charlie’s relationship since both love her and want the best for her.
If you are a fan of tumultuous romance with just enough suspense to make you wonder who the villain could be, I recommend The Trouble With Charlie.