St. Martin's, Feb 2004, 6.99, 352 pp.
After his two sisters failed to persuade cruise ship owner Jackie Taylor to partner with them on a treasure hunt, Chef Adrian St. Claire travels to Corpus Christie to try in person. He needs the letter she owns in which her ancestor mentions “Lafitte's Treasure” so that he can get the Texas Historical Commission to sanction a scavenger hunt. Jackie tells Adrian that the treasure is a worthless powderhorn, but he insists George Washington once owned it. He further explains that his family B&B on Pearl Island will benefit from the find and she can make money sailing her cruise ship to and from the island. Jackie agrees because she needs the cash, but also wants to read the diary that his ancestor kept that includes her relationship with Jackie's kin.
As Jackie and Adrian work together they fall in love. However, she trusts no one except a close friend First Mate Tiberius who is more like an uncle. She knows that a highly regarded hunk like Adrian is out of reach for the daughter of a scavenger con artist.
The third St. Claire tale is a fun contemporary romance with a pinch of the paranormal and a slice of history. The tale entertains readers with a hero who knows what he wants and a heroine who believes he too above her and too easy with the women. The returns of the stars from the previous novels (see FALLING FOR YOU and LEAN ON ME) augment Adrian's tale of love just as he did when his siblings starred in their novels. Though the likeable Jackie protests too much, Julie Ortolon scribes a delightful end to a fine trilogy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner