KARMA – Carly Phillips
A Perfect 10
A Serendipity Novel , Book 3
ISBN: 978-0-425-24790-7
May 2012
Contemporary Romance

Serendipity, New York – Present Day

Now with the Serendipity police department, Dare Barron has on several occasions come into contact with Liza McKnight when she bails out her brother Brian. Dare had a crush on Liza as a teen, but never acted upon it, especially after what happened during a party that he and Brian attended. Liza is always snippy with Dare, but one night he finally works up the nerve to approach her, but she rebuffs him. He is the cop always looking to find her brother in trouble. But after she is accidentally injured, it is Dare who steps up to take care of her. As their relationship grows and they become closer, the more she pushes him away. Dare will do anything to protect her, especially when it appears someone is trying to harm her. But Liza is independent and doesn't want help from anyone…especially Dare.

Liza's family is wealthy, and her brother Brian is the favored son. With parents who rarely bestowed any love or encouragement on her, she's learned to form a hard shell and to be independent, yet is always there for Brian, no matter what. She finds Dare attractive, but his forceful personality in wanting to protect her has her putting up barriers. After one bad relationship, she's not looking for another one right now. Yet, as she and Dare grow closer, she wonders how they can have any future together with the way her brother and Dare are antagonistic towards each other. For Dare, the closer he gets to Liza, the more the past's ugliness rears its head. Can their relationship survive?

Dare and his brothers have finally become friends after years apart following that fateful night of the party Dare attended. While he wasn't directly responsible for what happened, he feels guilty that someone died and he didn't intercede. It doesn't help that the perpetrator, Brian, got off scotch free, and with Liza being the overprotective older sister, well, asking her out probably isn't wise. Forced together, they dance around their feelings for each other, even as a sizzling attraction arises and they're soon slipping between the bed sheets. Dare tries to convince Liza to let her brother take care of his own problems, but she refuses. He can't help wondering why she acts like she's her brother's keeper.

Liza never felt loved by her parents. It was always about Brian and making sure his problems got swept under the rug. With her parents out of town, it's up to Liza to make sure Brian stays out of trouble. Alas, that's hard to do, especially when she suspects he is now into more than just drinking. And even more so when a cut brake line has her car spiraling out of control. Is someone using her to get to Brian? She can't tell Dare the truth, because he has made it clear how he feels about her brother. Yet Dare does make her feel loved and cherished, something she's never experienced before. Can Liza trust Dare enough so that he can help her?

KARMA is all about how actions in our past affect our future. For Dare, that fateful night where he watched a friend die and didn't take action has shaped his life. He's now a police officer and for him, truth, duty and action is his creed. Liza is bent on protecting her brother no matter how it affects her. Dare is a great guy, and Liza is a loyal, likeable woman. Secrets are slowly peeled away and guilt has to be assuaged before they can embrace their future together. Carly Phillips has once again penned an amazing tale that will pull you right into the story. We catch glimpses of Dare's brothers (and their wives) from the prior books, SERENDIPITY and DESTINY, as well as get hints about possible characters for future books. While one could read KARMA as a standalone, it's best to read all three in order to fully understand the road these brothers took to arrive at their new closeness.

KARMA is a fun, entertaining read that well deserves a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today as each book in the Serendipity series gets better and better. Readers will enjoy the characters of Dare and Liza and be rooting for them to make it work. Pick up this fabulous tale to read, and make it part of your keeper shelf.

Patti Fischer