BY: SHERRY GLOAG
She’d saved his life…
Rafe Hawk refuses to accept the inheritance, of a large English estate, and the title that goes with it, after his birth father’s death because the man chose duty over the woman he loved and their son.
And when he finds himself temporarily living at Kinsale Hall, he’s not prepared to trust anyone associated with the place, including Trudi Delaney and her daughter.
So why, when he looks into their eyes, does he suddenly remember a woman who vanished without a trace after saving his life one stormy night ten years earlier?
Now he could destroy hers.
Something more than the handsome American’s instant dislike of her, disturbs Trudi Delaney. Why, when he’d come to design some chalets for her, does he spend so much of his time in areas of Kinsale Hall off-limits to visitors?
Trudi, who is still plagued with nightmares of her entrapment in a brutal five year marriage where she was held a prisoner of her cruel and psychotic husband, has been a single parent for more a decade. Eleven years after the night she and an unidentified man barely escaped with their lives, Trudi is still unable to remember the hours she spent with this stranger—the hours in which her beautiful daughter was conceived. Now, more than a decade later, she is confronted by another stranger. Will this one destroy everything she holds dear?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: With a couple of twists and turns along the way, Duty Calls by Sherry Gloag captures the reader’s attention and refuses to let go right up to and including the last page. Set in a stately manor in the English countryside, Duty Calls is a romance big on plot, with an attention to detail that doesn’t overwhelm, but pulls the reader deeper into each scene. Gloag’s skill at painting a picture of the surroundings and her use of senses to invoke the reader’s imagination is wonderful. Our two leads, Trudi and Rafe are well suited, each imperfect in their own way, but determined to reach their goals, which brings them into direct conflict. Ah, you’ve got to love conflict between your hero and heroine, right? Duty Calls has that in spades. Though, this reviewer will say at first, I found the misunderstanding Rafe had over Trudi’s relationship with a man who turns out to be her brother seemed to drag on a bit. But hang in their readers, because the writing and plot line is strong enough to banish this annoyance from your mind quickly as you delve deeper into the story.
Duty Calls is brimming with characters you want to cheer for, laugh with, and maybe shed a tear for to boot. From retired MI6 operatives to two adorable little girls who will seize your heart and refuse to let go, Sherry Gloag has assembled a cast that stayed in my memory long after I finished her story. Keep an eye out for Vince, the head of “National Security”, who is definite future hero material. If I’m right, and trust me, you’ll want me to be in this instance, Vince needs his own story. Hey, the seeds have been sown. Read the book and you’ll know that I’m right!
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Duty Calls by Sherry Gloag is a contemporary romance/romantic suspense crossover. Or so it seems to me. Although Gloag doesn’t really give the reader a mystery to solve, she does give her characters one. And it’s a doozie. I found Duty Calls very enjoyable. Although I do have to agree with my counterpart and say that I thought Rafe’s confusion over Trudi’s relationship with her brother did drag on a bit, I can also say that it didn’t really bother me as much as it did Taylor. There was so much else going on I didn’t focus on that particular plot point.
One thing I loved about Duty Calls was the depth of Gloag’s characterization. Her characters are strong and beautiful, as heroes and heroines in romantic fiction usually are, but they are also flawed. They make mistakes, even as you’re screaming at them “No, no! Don’t do that!” And they live with regrets, so I found them easy to identify with and root for. Even as they made those mistakes I told them not to. As Taylor says, the plot in Duty Calls is strong. And twisted enough to keep your interest. It also gives a refreshing look at life in England—different enough from the US for me to notice, but not so weird I couldn’t understand.
Exasperated, Rafe Hawk shifted his gaze from the window to his mother, a petite woman, sitting serenely on the sofa in front of him.
“We’ve covered this ground before. What more do I have to say, before you acknowledge I want nothing to do with Daniel’s estates?” Rafe’s glance flicked over the open letter lying on the table between them. “He may have sired me, but that doesn’t make him my father.”
Funnelling his fingers through his hair, he continued. “How many times do I have to say no? No, I will not go back.” He stuffed his fists into his pockets in an effort to conceal his rising frustration from Martha Hawk. “I don’t give a damn whether Kinsale Hall is entailed to me or the man in the moon. Why should I? Only Daniel Kinsale and his solicitors knew I’d arranged to meet him. I told no one I’d changed my schedule and arrived in England a week earlier than expected, and yet Denny Cadmore somehow discovered both my plans and identity.”
Rafe glared at his parent. “Given those facts, tell me why I should stake a claim on a god-forsaken English estate, when everything and everyone who means anything to me lives here in The States?”
The drone of the old-fashioned overhead fan broke the ensuing silence. The oppressive heat stalked through the room sapping the energy from anyone or anything in its path.
“Rafe you’re making me dizzy. Sit down and stop prowling around the room.” His mother patted the cushions beside her. “How many times do I have to tell you, you were born from love, not lust? Whether you like it or not, you are the legitimate heir to your father’s estate.”
A shaft of sunlight caught a few silvery streaks in her blonde hair.
“But born out of wedlock,” Rafe snapped, before realizing the words had queued up for release.
“Yes, out of wedlock.” She sighed. “I’ve never denied it, nor have I stolen your entitlement to your birth name. Your birth father—” She paused for a few seconds.
“Daniel loved me,” she continued on a wistful note. “I accepted he couldn’t divorce his wife and agreed we had no future together, only the present. I’ve explained why he felt duty bound to uphold his family’s expectations. Having you gave me reason to survive without Daniel. You are from the man of my heart.”
Rafe’s free hand crashed down on the table, sending the letter floating to the floor. “If he loved you so much, how come another of his bastards crawled out of the woodwork? One whose birth certificate proves he’s ten days younger than me? How come the same bastard damn near sent me to my grave? Explain that if you can.”
Smoke-gray eyes glared into violet ones until with another thump of his fist, Rafe rose from the settee and stalked back to the window to gaze unseeingly at the cheerful riot of colors in his mother’s flowerbeds.
“For God’s sake, Mother, Kinsale two-timed you whilst declaring his undying love for you, and you fell for it!”
Unsolicited, a vision of the man rose in his memory. Similar in height, Daniel’s thatch of silver hair replaced the honey-blonde tresses Rafe saw in the mirror every time he shaved.
The same familiar smoky gray eyes, full of hope and yet displaying a lifetime’s regret, had stared back at Rafe in the smoke-filled library over a decade ago. He remembered the timbre of his birth-father’s deep voice, while he explained the intricacies of English property laws and entailment. Because of recent changes in the legislation, an incumbent of entailed property could leave it to someone of his own choice.
The sense of dislocation still haunted Rafe.
He recalled the deep, rich-plum leather wing chairs, the wood fire blazing in the hearth, and Lord Kinsale demanding Rafe uphold his duty to the estate and accept the responsibilities he would inherit when Daniel died. Those same responsibilities had separated Daniel and Rafe’s mother all his life.
Rafe owed nothing to his birth-father or the estate. Nothing at all!
Not then. Not now. His only duty included his mother, siblings, Jess, his stepfather, and Rafe’s clients. And that’s the way he liked it.
So, why did the memory of an unknown woman with amber-colored eyes still haunt him?
“Daniel suffered a breakdown after his father died.” His mother’s voice interrupted Rafe’s thoughts. “He rang me the day after his father’s funeral. He admits he went out and drank himself into oblivion and woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar room with a woman he’d never seen before. The woman claimed they’d gone back to her place for sex. Three months later she turned up at the Hall claiming he’d got her pregnant. It’s the oldest scam in the world, for God’s sake.
“They didn’t have DNA testing in those days which meant he had no way of proving otherwise. I believed him. She even named Daniel as the father on the child’s birth certificate.” His mother’s plea for understanding slipped right over Rafe’s head.
“Rafe, love at first sight does happen. Believe me, my life changed the moment I set eyes on Daniel. Love at first sight is not easy to explain,” she said with a wistful sigh.
“I won’t go back,” Rafe insisted, his back to the room. He refused to let the sound of his mother’s soft voice influence his decision. “Daniel put duty to his English family and his estate workers before the woman he proclaimed to love and the son she bore him. How can you blame me if I put my own family first?”
He’d grown up hating his birth father for walking away from them then and now hated the ghost whose influence still reached beyond the grave.
From a small boy’s point of view, his birth father’s involvement with his English estates meant he’d taken the easy way out by compensating for his absence in Rafe’s life with money.
Rafe had become one more responsibility dictated by duty to be honored. Why else would Daniel refuse to meet his son until he’d stared mortality in the face eleven years ago? Rafe didn’t need or want Daniel’s estates, and he certainly hadn’t expected them to almost cost him his life.
“It makes no sense,” his mother admonished. “Jess may be your stepfather but there are thousands of kids who never experience the unconditional love he gives you. You insult Jess with your ingratitude.” She pinned him with a cold stare. “Some might call you a hypocrite.”
“Really?” Unbridled fury spun Rafe round to glare down at his mother. “What about you? You claim Daniel was the love of your life, but you married Jess while loving someone else. So what right do you have to criticize me? Smells strongly of hypocrisy to me.”
He swung away, inhaled slowly in an effort to control his rising temper, then spun back again. “And how does Jess feel, knowing your heart will always belong to someone else? Someone who put us at the bottom of his list of priorities? And you accuse me of insulting Jess? I’m not the hypocrite here.
“Jeez, I could end up like Jess and find myself married to a woman who loves another man.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “With examples like those, can you blame me for lacking the inclination for marriage and children?”
“If that’s your attitude it’s a good thing you don’t intend to have any children.”
Behind his mother’s shrug, he saw the hurt in her eyes. Rarely did she strike back, verbally or otherwise, and guilt quashed Rafe’s spurt of anger.
“I’m sorry. That was out of line.”
“Yes, Rafe, it was. And I expect you to apologise to you mother,” Jess snapped from the doorway. “The reason your mother and I married is not your concern. I’ll never love another woman. Your mother is the center of my universe. And I’m the lucky man who holds her in my arms every night and wakes up beside her every morning.
“It grieves me to discover you still hold such resentment against Daniel. And it saddens me that you use him as an excuse for not trusting in life and in love enough to embrace it and create the chance of having a family of your own.” Jess crossed the room and dropped down beside his wife, resting his arm along the back of the settee before addressing Rafe again. “I hope you don’t wake up one day and discover the world left you behind because you were too busy enjoying your own private pity-party.”
Rafe couldn’t remember the last time Jess’s words cut so deep. Pity-party! He enjoyed women, rewarded them handsomely when they went their separate ways. He valued his independence and the knowledge no-one else controlled his emotions. And yet Jess directed a glance at him that still reduced him to an errant ten-year-old.
“What about your friend Arthur? Do you intend to renege on your agreement to design those retirement apartments he’s commissioned?” Martha Hawk’s softly spoken query snapped Rafe’s attention back to the present.
“No, I won’t, but I may shelve it for six months until I’ve finished designing Dr. Swanlow’s medical center.
“You’re making excuses.”
The frustration riding on his shoulders slipped away. “What if I am?” Rafe shot his mother the audacious grin that had saved him from many childhood reprimands. “That gives you another six months to be a pain in my—”
“Rafe! Don’t you dare say it. Would I do such a thing?”
“As if you wouldn’t, more like.” Treading swiftly across the room he bent down to engulf his mother in a bear hug.
“Stop the car!” Rafe swung round to face the driver. “I recognize this road. You never told me the commission to build those retirement units involved Kinsale Hall. You knew damn well I swore eleven years ago never set foot in the place again.”
Rage hazed his vision. “And because you withheld that vital information, Arthur, consider this contract null and void.”
Rafe shot forward in his seat when his friend from their Uni days tramped on the brakes.
Arthur Clifton skewed round in his seat. “How long have we known each other?”
Startled by the question, Rafe hesitated. “What’s the length of our friendship got to do with anything? Other than the fact you’re stretching it paper thin if you believe I’ll set foot on Kinsale territory again.”
He swung open the car door and leaped out, his fingers tunnelling through his windswept hair. Brilliant blue skies overhead offered a large playground for the early summer sunshine and the fluffy white clouds sailing by. He spotted the high chimney tops through the trees.
“Do you really imagine I’d bring you here without a specific reason?” Arthur remained in his seat, his hands on the steering wheel, watching Rafe pace up and down the soft verge beside the open-topped car.
“I can’t think of a single reason good enough to justify resurrecting memories I’d rather forget. That misadventure nearly cost me my life and possibly the life of an unknown woman.” His fist slammed onto the gleaming car bonnet, silencing the nearby birdsong. “Take me back to Heathrow.” He yanked at his soft, blue-silk shirt collar and loosened his tie. “I agreed to this commission as a favor. I’m up to my eyeballs in contracts right now and don’t need this one at the best of times, and now…” Once again Rafe’s hand shot through his hair.
“Please?” Arthur’s gaze held his. Dark, intense, and something else Rafe couldn’t identify.
He leaned into the car, hooked his jacket off the apology for a back shelf and dug out his cell phone. “Fine. I’ll call for a taxi.”
“You won’t get one to come out this far in a hurry.”
Arthur’s certainty fuelled Rafe’s anger. He stalked round the car to the trunk and yanked it open. Thankfully, he’d only brought a carry-on bag with enough to tide him over a short two-day stay in the UK. He’d hitch a ride if forced to.
Arthur’s hand clamped down on his arm before he lifted the bag free. “Hear me out.”
When Rafe nodded agreement, he released Rafe’s arm and stepped back. Arthur slammed the trunk shut and leaned against it. He waited until Rafe settled his butt against the vehicle beside him before he spoke. “You don’t need me to remind you about Denny Cadmore, I’m sure.”
A vision of the heavy-set, swarthy-faced man who’d set him up swam in front of Rafe. Eleven years hadn’t diminished the details: black hair, a neck resembling the trunk of an ancient oak tree, and coal-black eyes, mean and red-rimmed by the end of the evening’s cards. He lacked a couple inches of Rafe’s six-feet, but his shoulders and chest equalled those of an enormous English cart horse. And Cadmore’s cohorts—
Rafe had been lucky to escape their machinations that night. He owed his life to an unknown woman who led him to safety through the wildest storm he’d ever experienced.
“No, I don’t need any reminders of my last visit regarding the Kinsale Estate,” he confirmed.
“I never discovered how you managed to evade the executors of the will after Lord Kinsale’s death,” Arthur lied. “But when they couldn’t trace you, they got in touch with Cadmore. Apparently, he managed to convince them of the legitimacy of his claim, and he moved from London to live at the Hall for the next five years.”
“Five years? Why only five years?” Curiosity, Rafe convinced himself.
“He died in a turf-war shooting.”
Arthur’s sudden air of innocence didn’t fool Rafe. Arthur and his boss, Vince Parker, carried the responsibility for England’s national security. So getting rid of a scumbag like Cadmore would have been child’s play.
“I suppose you invoked some national security code, somehow.”
“I do believe the papers mentioned something about drug overlords.” Arthur shifted from studying the countryside to staring at Rafe. “I doubt you heard. The executors traced his widow, who now lives at the Hall.”
“Widow? Cadmore never said anything about a wife. He introduced me to his sister. I told you he wagered his sister against my twenty thousand pounds.”
The remembered stench of the dingy room, stale beer, and dirty, sweaty bodies that fateful night pervaded Rafe’s memory. The single overhead bulb that failed to illuminate the far corners of the room hid the gray-faced stick of a woman who’d stepped forward when commanded. The memory of her straggly, dirty, shoulder length hair, wide frightened eyes and hands that sought refuge in the skimpy black cotton skirt hanging limply against her bare legs, still haunted his dreams. And turned them into nightmares.
Rafe swallowed. No way could he kid himself. The memories of that night would haunt him for the rest of his life. He’d treated her like a side of beef hanging in a butcher’s shop in an effort to maintain a cover already blown.
Their flight from the house.
And when they’d been pulled from the raging torrents, she’d adamantly refused to let the medics take her to hospital. Images he’d rather forget flashed through his mind. The comfort they sought in each other’s arms and the realization life might have ceased for both of them that night. Comfort changed to awareness and awareness to a commemoration of life in their coming together. It transcended logic or lust. It became a need to celebrate their survival. Her disappearance the following morning ran through his mind like an old movie.
“I have a copy of the marriage license.”
Arthur’s words didn’t make sense, but on the other hand they did. A macabre kind of sense that sent shivers down his spine.
“So they traced the widow and installed her at Kinsale Hall,” Rafe said. “I fail to understand why you should consider it ‘special’ enough to haul me across the Atlantic to spend time designing units for a place I vowed never to set foot in again.”
If it took anger to banish the decade-old memories Rafe would use it, regardless of whether his long-time, school friend deserved it or not.
Arthur shifted against the car to hold Rafe’s gaze before speaking. “I don’t have to remind you of Vince, do I?”
“Of course not. But what’s he got to do with this?”
“After Cadmore’s death, and before they discovered the existence of his widow, Vince and I contacted the executors and asked them to allow us the use of the Hall as a Safe House and retirement center for our agents. When everything was up and running, we asked them to install Cadmore’s widow in the role of general overseer for our people and the estate.”
“I still don’t understand why you’ve called me in on this.” Rafe pushed away from his perch against the car trunk, paced off and back again. He threw his jacket back into the car and glared at his companion.
“We have to select people we can trust to work on projects at the Hall for security reasons,” Arthur said. “We don’t need an architect planning units for the place who may pass the designs to nefarious parties to use at a later date. You’ve been cleared.”
“Bull.” Rafe’s snort frightened a skylark from its nearby nest and sent the bird soaring into the sky, chattering all the way up until it became a small black dot against the overhead canopy of blue. “You must have hundreds of in-house staff and outsiders on retainer who pass your security.”
“I don’t deny it.” Arthur’s ready agreement startled Rafe into stillness. “But none of them are aware of the existence of the Hall. And we want things to remain that way.”
The beat of silence stretched from one minute to five. Rafe searched Arthur’s face for a trace of deception and found none. Nevertheless, he couldn’t quite quash his conviction Arthur’s request included a hidden agenda.
Could he do it? Could Rafe enter the building that epitomised everything he hated about his origins? All the actions and reactions that had him standing at the side of the road with his friend, facing…
If he kept his past where it belonged, he could scope out the site for these retirement units, then head back home to Boston and draw up the plans. He didn’t need to stay on-site to maintain contact with the local authorities for planning information.
“Twenty-four hours,” he snapped and flung himself back into the passenger seat.
“I’d like to sit outside.”
Bella’s frail voice reached Trudi Delaney from the small room they called the ‘snug.’ She closed her account book and shifted the file into her top drawer before locking it.
“It’s lovely outside.” She knelt beside Bella and helped her to her feet. “We can have our meal out on the patio if it’s warm enough for you. The girls would love to ‘picnic’ after a hard day in school.” Her gurgle of laughter filled the air.
Both their daughters enjoyed school, but they enjoyed coming home more.
The girls, born minutes apart, were closer than some twins, although unrelated.
After seeing her friend settled, Trudi pulled up another chair and leaned back to let the sun warm her upturned face. Birdsong filled the comfortable silence between the two women.
“I want to talk to you about Blackwater Farm,” Bella said, after a few moments.
“How come you happen to own the farm next door to Kinsale Hall,” Trudi asked. “And why have you never lived there?” She studied Bella’s face.
Bella’s third and final battle with cancer may have robbed her of her beauty, but it failed to diminish her spirit. And Trudi knew she rarely complained.
“My uncle left the farm to me a few weeks before Lizzie’s birth,” Bella began. “He claimed to have more money than sense and had no use for the place. He expected me to take more care of it.” Her sigh landed in the silence between them. “Somehow he discovered my marriage was in trouble. I feel so guilty for letting the farm go to wrack and ruin.”
“You have nothing to feel guilty about. But why didn’t you move in after your husband abandoned you?”
“Because I suspected he knew about the place.”
“But you agreed to move in here with me. I mean, the farm’s only half a mile away if you take the path through the woods.”
“True, but when I talked to Vince and your brother about it and about Lizzie’s safety, they promised me the residents would care for us. They assured me they’d be happier if we lived at the Hall and tried to imply we’d be doing them a huge favor if I agreed. You know what those two are like. I can’t decide which brother is the most devious, yours or mine.”
Trudi swore under her breath when pain strangled Bella’s laugh before it fully formed.
“But that’s not what I wanted to talk about,” Bella said after regaining her breath.
“Okay. I’m listening.”
“The last time Vince visited, we discussed the implications of leaving the farm to Lizzie outright, as opposed to leaving it to you, in trust for Lizzie later.”
“What?” Trudi shot to her feet. “Why would you do that? Thanks to our brothers, I’m firmly entrenched here with the legal pink ribbons to guarantee I—and therefore we—stay here.”
“What will you do when you regain the missing hours of your memory?” Bella demanded.
“Nothing. You and I both know the doctors maintain the longer the memory loss continues the less likely I will ever regain it.”
“But you’re not happy here, are you?”
“I should be.” Trudi admitted. But somehow, for some inexplicable reason, she never considered she belonged in these sumptuous surroundings. Perhaps her late husband’s prior occupancy of the Hall tainted her ability to settle. “The girls love it,” she added, more forcefully than she intended.
“But I notice you’re keeping them close to the house. Why?” Anxiety lurked in Bella’s eyes.
Damn. Trudi hid her fists behind her back. If Bella noticed her caution with the girls, had anyone else? The number of permanent residents fell from ten to three a month ago—Judy Strathallan, a relative newcomer, and the Frobishers, who’d lived here for three years now. All three had formerly worked in the field for the security of the country. Trudi assumed little got passed them. Had they noticed the intruder? And how to answer Bella’s query without adding to her concern?
“Mr. Peach from the village hardware store mentioned someone was asking questions around,” Trudi said. “So as a precaution I asked the girls to stay close.”
“Did they find out what they wanted?” Bella asked, a frown pleating her forehead.
“I haven’t been into the village since. No one’s mentioned anything. Therefore, I imagine they’ve moved on.”
“But you continue to keep the girl’s close?”
“They have exams coming up. It doesn’t hurt to have them focus on their schoolwork.” Trudi’s snort of laughter joined with Bella’s.
“You’re such a bad liar. I’ll take pity on you and shut up. But don’t assume you’ve sidetracked our talk about the farm. I’ve asked Vince to have the documents drawn up, and he’s bringing them down for you to sign, next time he’s here. And—” She raised her hand before Trudi interrupted. “Look at it this way, if you accept it, and Lizzie doesn’t want it when she comes of age, you will always have somewhere of your own for you and Rachel.”
“That’s hardly fair to Lizzie.”
“She’s in agreement. Vince and I discussed it with her during his last visit. When I’m gone, you become her legal mother and are entitled to protect her interests until she’s of age.”
“She’s only ten years old, how can she make such a big decision?”
“Both our girls are wise beyond their years,” Bella snapped. “Give me this, Trudi. Let me go with a peaceful mind.”
Trudi swallowed her grief and nodded. She’d discuss it with Vince when he next visited.
“Thank you,” Bella said with a smile. “I’m expecting him later this afternoon.”
“You haven’t lost that sneaky streak, have you?”
“Nope.” Bella’s smile never dimmed as she turned the conversation. “How about a cup of tea and some of the gorgeous lemon cake you made last night?”
When Trudi had served Bella her snack, she headed to her own room to collect a pile of files she’d taken from her office and worked on through the previous night.
The nightmares didn’t come so frequently now, but when they did, they banished any further chance of sleep.
Initially, after the dreams, she’d tried forcing her memory to search for something, anything, that might reveal the face of the man who’d fathered her child—something to explain why she’d slept with another man while still married to her bastard of a husband.
Kept a virtual prisoner by the man she’d married, how come she’d escaped, let alone met someone who’d given her the gift of such a wonderful daughter?
She often wondered about the night Rachel was conceived. But whatever happened, she couldn’t doubt the treasured outcome.
She looked round at the wood-panelled walls. They advertised the legacy and history of the building, but she hated the darkness saturating the room.
Even if she’d wanted to, the preservation order on the building prevented her from painting over the dark wood. To alleviate the gloom she’d selected light furniture and fittings. Pale cream curtains hung at the window. A light honey-colored cover over the bed complemented the light cherry-wood headboard. Full length mirrors fronted her cupboards and reflected the natural light from the window into the room. Two desks stood sentinel on either side of the window. Open files spread across the surface of one, while her computer and loaded inbox stood on the other.
She crossed the room and gathered up the scattered files. Searching in the drawers for several more, she piled them up in her arms before retracing her steps downstairs.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012: the Fire Pages reviewer calls Duty Calls totally engaging and gives it 4 Flowers.
She says: “I truly enjoyed reading Duty Calls by Sherry Gloag. The story starts out slow during the first chapter; however, chapters two through five pick up the pace which leads to an ending that you absolutely can’t put down. You will definitely be hooked by chapters six through fifteen. The ending is my favorite part of the book because it really pulled all the story lines together and made a full circle. I like how Rachel experienced the same cycle that Rafe experienced. The fact that Rafe chooses to make positive decisions for himself made me feel really good about how his character has grown and changed, especially since his decisions help break the cycle for Rachel and Lyzzie… The novel has an overshadowing theme that if the people take care of the simple things in life, then bigger, more complicated problems can be avoided. Duty Calls is very easy to read, well-written, and totally engaging!” READ FULL REVIEW
The Romance Reviews:
Tuesday, September 27, 2011: Ann of The Romance Reviews says Duty Calls is a memorable novel and gives it 4 Stars!
She says: “DUTY CALLS is an appealing novel about unconditional love and what happens when you keep secrets. And family secrets abound in this novel revolving around birth parents, half siblings, siblings, amnesia, and mistaken identities. If that isn’t enough to keep your attention, there’s a little mystery thrown in for good measure.
What makes this novel really memorable is the way that Sherry Gloag skillfully crafts her characters. The relationship between the main characters, Rafe Kinsale Hawk and Trudi Delaney, forms the core of the novel. Eleven years ago, Denny Cadmore, Rafe’s half-brother, attempts to kill him to ensure he will become the sole heir to their father’s inheritance. Rafe escapes from Denny’s clutches along with a woman he has been introduced to as Denny’s sister. Rafe and Denny’s “sister” end up having life affirming sex after living through a terrifying escape. The next morning, Rafe awakens alone in his bed. He searches in vain for Denny’s “sister” but is unable to find her.
The supporting cast of characters really enhances the storyline and produces a well-rounded novel that is truly a pleasure to read. I especially like the way the author makes connections between the characters. For instance, Trudi’s brother Arthur is Rafe’s friend, Arthur works for Vince, Vince is Bella’s brother, and Bella is Trudi’s best friend.” READ THE FULL REVIEW
Friday, March 18, 2011: Laura McQuillen of examiner.com gives Duty Calls 4 Stars.
She says: “Duty Calls, by Sherry Gloag, is a book that kept me reading nearly start to finish (I had to put it down to sleep, finally). Published by Black Opal Books, this new contemporary romance gets you invested in the characters and leaves you rooting for the happy ending.
Rafe is a cynic when it comes to love and romance. His father is one that put duty before love and Rafe is determined not to let love into his life. As a high profile architect, he is contracted…to come to England and design some chalets… There just one catch. The chalets are located on his deceased father’s estate. The estate that he is supposed to step up and take responsibility for but refuses…The last time he stepped foot on this estate, he nearly lost his life – but he also spent a memorable night with a woman that disappeared with the morning light.
Trudi is the caretaker of the estate. Rafe thinks she is immoral due to a misunderstanding that isn’t cleared up for quite some time. She lives at the estate with her friend that is dying of cancer, her friend’s daughter and her own daughter. The two little girls win Rafe over with their sweetness, and Trudi gets to see his nice side in his interaction with the girls and with her friend.
This is a great read that you are sure to enjoy. Hopefully there will be a follow up book for a couple of the other guys in the book too. They could definitely carry a book on their own.” READ FULL REVIEW