And Mistress Makes Three by Francis Ray
St. Martin's Griffin, Jun 2009
Rating: 4

Francis Ray has created a loving yet touching story about how far love will go to make people realize their needs for one another.

Gina Rawlings is the wife that most men would die for she never questions her husband about his coming or goings and always believes in him when he does not give reasons for things he does. She takes care of her home and put everyone before herself. When he walks away to go on to share his life with a better woman as he comes to bring to her attention she is left to pick up the pieces. With two children, no support from her husband and a business that has seen better days Gina finds herself trying to hold on to her mental state.

With the opening of Journey’s End, the bed & breakfast that his wife wanted, Max Broussard is taking his deceased wife's dream and making it a reality while still dealing with the fact that she is gone. When Gina goes to visit the B&B for her business, she finds a lovely location with lots of potential, in need of some touches to make it a step above the other B&Bs in the area. On the other end, Gina's travel agency needs help. If it were not for her family and friends, it would be making little to no income at all. Max knowing an expert eye when he sees one makes an agreement with Gina to help her with the technical side of her business if she would help him make the B&B the place he wanted to create for his wife. Max is very gentle to the eye and an instant spark flies between the Gina and Max but Gina and Max are both at war with these feelings. Max is not sure about her relationship with her ex-husband and Gina is at odds with her body due to the weight she has gained over the years.

Gina's best friend, Celeste de le Vega is an interior designer that many would call a heart breaker. She has been engaged three times but none of these men has made her heart stop and start again leading her down the aisle to forever. When Celeste meets Alec Dunlap, she realizes he may just be the one. However, Alec would not be easy. Alec, a dedicated police officer, is unable to perform his duties due to his guilt over the shooting of a man in the line of duty. Alec is at his brother's house building him and his new wife a gazebo while they are on their honeymoon. Celeste is at his brother's house redecorating the couple's bedroom. This causes Alec and Celeste to cross paths constantly. Alec is trying to fight the attraction between them but Celeste is trying everything in her power to ignite the fire. When Celeste is taken hostage, Alec has to deal with his feelings and bring them to the table with Celeste.

And A Mistress Makes Three was not what I expected I totally love how Francis took each of her characters and made them stand out as individuals before bringing them into their unique places within the book. This book is great as a standalone but I get the feeling I am going back to look at the Invincible Women of Charleston, SC. As a Charleston native, I would say that Francis hit this on the dime and made everything visually stimulating. KUDOS to Ray for doing it again.