Title: Ladd Springs
Author: Dianne Venetta
Published: April 9, 2013 by Bloomin Thyme Press
Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars
Delaney Wilkins finds herself at odds with hotel developer Nick Harris over a deathbed promise and a mysterious find in the forest. Both are after title to Ladd Springs, a mecca of natural springs, streams and trails in the eastern Tennessee mountains, a tract of land worth millions. But Ernie Ladd, current owner of the property and uncle to Delaney, is adamantly opposed to them both.
Felicity Wilkins, Delaney’s daughter, deserves to inherit her family’s legacy, but neighbor Clem Sweeney is working against her, ingratiating himself with Ernie Ladd. Clem is also harboring a secret that will make him a very wealthy man—unless the others stop him before he can bring it to fruition.
Complicating matters is Annie Owens. Ex-girlfriend to Jeremiah Ladd, Ernie’s estranged son living in Atlanta, she declares her daughter Casey is Jeremiah’s, making Casey every bit as entitled to the property as Felicity—only Annie hasn’t proven this claim. Yet.
All are fighting to get the property, but only one will walk away with the gold. Which will it be?
I do enjoy a good romance occasionally and Ladd Springs by Dianne Venetta fits the bill. With a romance, for me the most important thing is that I like the two main characters, both as individuals and as a couple. Delaney is a strong woman, uncompromising in a good way, but she’s in over her head when it comes to the land dispute. She gets caught in a dangerous situation when Ladd Springs is worth even more than she supposed. She wants the land for her daughter because it’s her family legacy, beautiful, not for the profit potential.
Nick obviously wants the land to build his hotel/spa. But he’s not a sleazy developer. His is an eco-tourist company, so he respects the land. He’s also, it seems not out to dupe the family into giving him the land for way less than it’s worth. he seems honest and ethical, which is not usually how developers come across in fiction. Of course, he comes to the rescue when Delaney needs him, on several occasions. He’s a little too good to be true. A good, rich, handsome guy who grew up in the mountains out west and carries a gun.
So I like them both and they work well as a couple, but the romance was a little tame for me, and I’m really not a fan of the “knight in shining armor” that Nick was. Delaney had a bad habit of getting in over her head and Nick has to save her. It was a nice romance, but the story focuses more on the family drama and the suspense aspect than the romance, which works fine for me but if you’re looking for a straight romance, this isn’t it.
I enjoyed it. I’ll be interested in seeing what happens next in Ladd Springs.