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Don't Mess With Texas    by Christie Craig order for
Don't Mess With Texas
by Christie Craig
Order:  USA  Can
Forever, 2011 (2011)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Craig kicks off another series set in Texas, revolving around three ex-cops framed for murder and now running their own PI agency. In this first instalment, Nikki Hunt is close to broke after a costly divorce settlement, but is determined to make it on her own. So naturally, she's a little confused when her cheating snake of an ex starts sending her flowers and then invites her to dinner at the priciest restaurant in town.

When Jack begins acting weird during their date, she's even more annoyed, but unfortunately, she doesn't get the chance to discover what's up with him. Before the night's out, Nikki finds Jack's body stuffed into her trunk and the police looking at her as the prime suspect - which is ridiculous, even if she did happen to say out loud to not only their server but also a convenience store clerk that she was going to kill him.

Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused of a crime. The lead detective (who also happens to be his brother) may think he's collared the killer, but Dallas has his doubts. He's determined to clear Nikki's name, even more so when they discover her apartment has been ransacked. When her art gallery assistant is left for dead, Dallas figures Nikki' the next target and vows to protect her. That means convincing the skittish beauty to move in with him - for safety's sake, naturally. But it doesn't take long for Dallas to fall head over heels and despite her vow to stay away from another broken heart, Nikki finds she can't resist Dallas's Texas charm either.

Craig offers up another well-written and nicely plotted story, with great leads in Nikki and Dallas. A secondary plot featuring Dallas's brother Tony and his efforts to get back together with his estranged wife is also well done. A couple of other secondaries and plot devices are well-used romantic clichés, but Craig makes them work by adding just enough quirkiness as well as a breezy writing style. Short snippets featuring agency colleagues Tyler and Austin also set things up nicely for their own stories. Christie Craig always delivers enjoyable light romantic mysteries - add Don't Mess With Texas to the list.

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