Theresa Linden weaves three story lines throughout this second volume of her West Brothers trilogy. At the conclusion of volume one—Roland West, Loner—Roland finds a measure of happiness with his new friends, especially Caitlyn. He and she enjoy hanging out without the pressures of a “relationship.” When Roland tells Caitlyn that he’s not ready to be her boyfriend, Caitlyn thinks that his feelings for her have cooled. Can Ronald and Caitlyn find what they have lost?
Caitlyn’s friend, Zoe, the most popular girl at school, begins to show Caitlyn “how to become popular.” To demonstrate, Zoe attracts the attention of Jarret, Roland’s brother. She sees Jarret as handsome, confident and hot. The real Jarret lives to dominate and control everyone in his life. Can Zoe find happiness with Jarret or has she stepped into emotional quicksand?
Because Jarret had made Roland’s life miserable, as a punishment, their father takes Jarret’s twin, Keefe, to Italy, instead of his other sons. Once out of Jarret’s reach, Keefe’s worldview amplifies. Can Keefe become his own person and find life-changing love?
Of all of Theresa Linden’s characters, Jarret West represents the ultimate Machiavellian as he schemes to bend the lives of Roland, Caitlyn, Keefe and especially Zoe so that he gets what he wants, regardless of the cost or damage. Jarret is an “evil genius” with an innate ability to interpret behaviors and engineer emotional responses that favor his devious ploys. Can love change the direction of Jarret’s life?
Caitlyn shows tremendous depth and strength, especially when Jarret attempts to manipulate and embarrass her. She comes to know her parents and the reasons for their concerns and the limitations they place on her.
Readers of volume one will welcome the return of Peter and Toby, the clear-sighted brothers who have Jarret’s number and give him all the grief they can.
As usual, Theresa Linden’s lively plots and palpable characters make for a compelling read. She shows imagination, intrigue, and originality in yet another novel. Volume three is on the way.