Saturday, October 14, 2017

Swing Vote (Safe Harbors #3), by Donna K. Weaver

Donna K. Weaver, October 2017

Marc North and Ike Gordon are two ex-Marines who need to build new lives. Ike came home to a new life waiting for him; his father and stepmother died within weeks of each other, and his stepsister, Mackenzie Terkildsen, needs his help raising their two younger half-brothers, Noah and Caleb. He resigned his Marine career, and went home to Utah.

Marc, on the other hand, lost his Marine career to a devastating injury in an IED explosion. He didn't lose his leg, and defying expectations, he is walking well again. He's not alone; his sister Lyn was part of the cruise that was interrupted by a pirate hijacking, and he is now part of the extended, chosen family that formed out of the survival of that disaster.

But that doesn't give him a career, and both he and Ike need to work. They're helicopter pilots, and Ike's home town of Canyonland, Utah, is now a boomtown, with a new launch site and new industries. They join together to start a new business, giving helicopter tours of the picturesque and currently underserved area, for tourists and new residents alike. What Marc isn't prepared for is how tense the clashes between Newcomers and Oldtimers have made the small town politics they'll have to negotiate to get their business fully permitted and off the ground.

Once again, this is a story of people in conflict, and people coming together to form families and communities. Newcomers and Oldtimers have legitimate concerns, and both sides have their share of pig-headed idiots who don't think they should have to compromise because, obviously, they're right.

Mackenzie, as City Recorder, has to work with both sides and try to keep the peace, at least at City Hall.

The romantic storyline in this book follows Mackenzie and Marc. Marc had been, he thought, on the verge of becoming engaged to a girl in Georgia, Scarlett, before the IED changed his life. Then he got a Dear John letter from her while he was lying in a hospital bed still in doubt as to whether he'd walk again. Mackenzie got involved with a guy she thought she was falling in love with--but he couldn't handle becoming part of a ready-made family with two pre-teen boys to raise. They're both a little bruised--and Ike, with his love of practical jokes, and set up a doozie by giving Marc the impression that Mackenize, or "Terk" as he consistently called her, was another brother, not a sister.

It's a warm-hearted, pleasing book, with others from the Safe Harbors extended family making brief appearances. Not great literature, but a pleasant read.

Recommended.

I may have received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, or bought it. I don't recall, and am not quickly finding that information. In any case, I am reviewing it voluntarily.