The fifth book in the Winston Brothers and Cousins series, the first book in the Visitation series, published August 2003.
You met Joe Winston in Lori Foster's Wild. Now, the Winston brothers' seductive, bad-boy cousin is back and up against a woman who's immune to his considerable charms...or so it seems...
Joe Winston has a routine with women: he exists; they swoon; roll credits. With his smoldering looks, macho style, and irrepressible charm, Joe can have any woman -- except the one he really wants. Secretly, Luna Clark may lust after Joe, but she's made it clear that she's too smart to fall for him. He can just keep holding his breath, thank you very much. But now, Luna's inherited two kids who need more than she alone can give in a small town that seems hell-bent on driving them away. She needs someone to help out...someone who can't be intimidated...someone just like Joe. Becoming an instant family wasn't exactly what Joe had in mind, but hey, it's a start, and you can't blame a guy for trying every angle.
After all, where there's a Joe, there's a way...straight into a woman’s heart.
Luna just found out she has two young cousins in need of her. Since their mother died, they have gone through a few guardians, and they all quit shortly after that. She is their last hope before the foster care looms. Luna never has had much of a family herself, and she really wants one, so she is determined to take care of them. Willow, a young girl of 14, and Austin, 9 years old. Austin has been in some scrapes lately, and there appear to be some troubles in town. Their mother, and Luna’s cousin, Chloe, was an unwed mother, an no one knows who the father is for her children. But she left the children a nice house, plot of land and a lake, all free of mortgage. Luna is asking Joe Winston to come with her, to handle those problems.
Ever since Joe met her, three months ago on his cousin’s wedding, he has been wanting her. But Luna keeps saying no. She is not interested in an affair with him, as she knows he will break her heart. After all, Joe is a gorgeous tall dark and dangerous man. He has been a number of jobs, a cop, a bounty hunter, and a bodyguard. But now someone has ambushed him, and the current woman in his life seems more interested in fondling his body than taking care for him. So Luna steps in, nursing him, feeding him, cleaning his clothes and apartment. Joe doesn’t know who beat him up so badly, but he has a hunch. And when someone is breaking into his apartment while Luna is sleeping on the couch, he is determined to take her away from danger and go to North Carolina at once.
The children’s currant guardian, Patricia, and the housekeeper, are really happy to see Joe, and try to seduce them at the spot, totally ignoring Luna, and the schoolteacher who came over to talk about the children. At first, Joe is fine with it, trying to make Luna jealous. Like she was when she chased the women out of his apartment a few days ago, telling them she was his wife. But as it doesn’t seem to be working, and he really isn’t interested in either of them, he swiftly gets rid of them and close to Luna again. It is very obvious neither woman cares one ioata for the children. They are just a nuisance, or cheap labor, and better left alone. And of course Austin gets blamed for what ever happens, or when someone complains about him. Even when he didn’t start a fight or something. Luna is livid, and as Patricia is supposed to get together with her fiancée, she soon sets her packing, and sacks Dinah, the housekeeper while she is at it. Not that Dinah did much housekeeping from the looks of it.
Someone is obviously trying to get rid of the children, to make them move out, by blaming them for stuff, stirring up trouble. Luna and Joe are determined to catch whoever is doing that, they already love the children and are slowly winning their trust and affection in return.
This could have been a really nice book, but unfortunately, it really did not work out for me. The book keeps focusing on Joe, trying to get Luna in bed. With words and touches and innuendos. And yes, she wants him as well, but not for just know. So they both want the other to fall in love with themselves, so Joe will stay with them. And then all the woman falling over Joe, touching him because he is so gorgeous. Really did not like that, or believe it at all. Of course I can look at a gorgeous man, but I won’t be touching him all over, draping myself across him. And Joe liked it, finds it normal, until he meets Luna and wants nothing more than Luna, because she said no to him. And has a gorgeous ass he wants in his hands. And this is repeated and repeated and repeated.
I did like how the both of them interacted with the children, but for the most part, they just annoyed me. Luna is supposed to be a very independent woman, but she also fawns about Joe, and feels small and feminine besides him. She asked him to take care of the trouble, but every time he goes out to fight trouble, she goes after him, afraid he is getting hurt, and hindering him. Really stupid.
Of course many love scenes, the book is filled with the hot desire between them. Of course I liked some parts of it, otherwise I never would have finished it, but I did speedread the second half of the book just to see if it would get better. Luckily, the writing style is such that it is a fast read, easy to follow. Of course, I am not a mother, don’t even really like children, so perhaps that made the book less interesting for me to read. But still, to many stupid things happening, a paperthin plot or two, and characters I absolutely could not get into.