Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox
An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.
Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?
E-book. 350 pp. ISBN 978-0-345-54161-1.
Ruthie Knox has a gift for creating strong lead couples and writing great sex scenes. Caleb Clark is simply amazing! This man is so perfect, I would keep him locked in my house and never let him go. Confident, sensual, funny, warm, strong, loving – I could go on and not run out of praise for at least 3 more pages. Did I feel this strongly about him initially? NO! Not at all. I thought he seemed a little smug; maybe even a little patronizing. I should have had more faith in Ruthie because she was actually establishing his stubborn need to be protective of everyone he cares about.
Our book’s heroine is equally stubborn if not more so. Ellen is a giver. The kind of woman who spent all her life putting herself last, letting others tell her what to do and feeling most comfortable when she was doing things for others. She’s the kind of woman who was raised to believe she didn’t deserve better. Married to a philandering alcoholic, Ellen is pregnant when she decides she has had enough. It takes her three years to become the woman and mother she wants to be and ultimately feel comfortable in her own skin. Having a relationship with Caleb was not part of the new life she had built for herself.
Along Came Trouble focuses on several issues that are common in most relationships. Can you love someone without losing sight of who you are? How do you find balance between needs, wants & quirks so that you don’t end up smothering each other?
There are several sub-plots in the novel: Ellen’s rock star brother and his on again/off again relationship with Ellen’s pregnant neighbor, Carly; Ellen’s relationship with her ex-husband, Richard; a mysterious paparazzo who may be dangerous to Ellen and her family; and Caleb’s maturing relationship with his parents. Over all the novel is strongest when it focuses on Caleb and Ellen. Some of the other story lines are flat and underdeveloped.
Randomhouse/LoveSwept has committed to several books in the Camelot series and most of them center around Caleb’s family which may explain why so many story lines have been introduced. A note to fans who read How To Misbehave, Along Came Trouble picks up the story several years later. Amber’s little brother is Caleb. She and Tony play a small role in this novel only now they run their own construction company and have three kids. The next story will focus on their little sister Katie.
At times, the book seems too long and full of filler. This is probably because the book was originally novella length. I was really disappointed that the element of danger posed by the evil paparazzo story line was not explored further. This would have naturally filled out the story. Caleb’s mother is written as a shrewish belittling woman with a dead-end reference to a Lebanese nationality and a conversion to Catholicism. These two points raised questions and did little to add to the story – in fact it made me wonder where Knox was trying to go with this? The mother seems less likeable than in How To Misbehave.
Along came trouble is at it’s best when it focuses directly on Ellen & Caleb. We all deserve a love we can rely on that lets us be ourselves.
Reviews of other novels written by Ruthie Knox: