BURNED BY A KISS – Tina Leonard
The Star Canyon Series – Book 1
Star Canyon, New Mexico – The Present
On a dare, Santana Dark kissed his class's nerd and valedictorian as their senior class lined up for graduation. He thought a quick touch of lips with Emma Glass would be enough, but that kiss lingered and burned into his memory. After graduation, he went into the military, and Emma went off to college.
After graduating from vet school, Emma joined her father in his Star Canyon vet clinic. Despite her red hair, she is a quiet, very rational woman devoted to her animal patients and to abandoned animals. When her dad died, she took over the clinic. The last person she expects to see is Santana Dark, although her heart still lingers on their kiss. In the gossipy small community of Star Canyon, she knows Santana has just returned from his deployment as a SEAL. He brings Joe, the rescued Golden Retriever given to her friend Sierra Dark, Santana's sister, to the clinic for a check-up. Sierra insists Santana needs Joe to recover from his deployments. Meeting Emma might have encouraged him to follow Sierra's orders, for he hasn't forgotten that graduation day kiss either; it saw him though some hard times, and he wants more; but situations can quickly change.
Santana and his siblings, Sierra, and his three brothers Cisco, Romero, and Luke, go to a meeting with their father's attorney. Their father, Sonny Dark, was not only owner of a huge cattle ranch, but also a local fireman. He died recently in one of the worst fires to ever happen in Star Canyon, just a short time before Santana returned from his deployment in the Middle East. A man enters their meeting–Nick Marshall. The family learns Nick is a cousin they never knew existed and that their father made an irrevocable trust to their unknown uncle leaving the ranch and everything on it to Nick. Not only that, they discover they are all adopted. He now has nothing to offer Emma.
BURNED BY A KISS sets this romance series off to a great start. While the eventual pairing between Emma and Santana is apparent, knowledge about the strange situation the Dark siblings find themselves in certainly creates concern, as does the very wealthy Nick's attraction to Sierra. Suspicions are also raised about Sonny Dark's death, making BURNED BY A KISS a relatively short but riveting read with great potential for the upcoming volumes.