Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: May 2016
Format: Hardcover, 400 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Morgan Yancy is an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group. During a break after a mission, someone ambushed him and nearly had him killed. Determined to find out who is after his squad member, his supervisor, Axel, decided it would be best if Morgan stays in a low profile while he discreetly track who is behind the attack. That "low profile" place happens to be Axel's ex- stepsister's house which is situated at a remote location at Hamrickville, West Virginia.
Isabeau "Bo" Maran is the part-time police chief at Hamrickville. Her life is simple, blissful and she's a few good friends and a lovely, devoted dog named Tricks. When Axel called her one day about "housing" his mate, she couldn't say no because as much as she hates the idea of sharing her house with a stranger, Axel's offer for financial assistance to her house loans seems too good to be true; plus Morgan has already showed up on her doorsteps looking quite sickly.
Bo knew something is up with Morgan's situation since he barely talks about his job and when he does they are usually vague. However, she trusts Axel's decision despite they are not the closest step-siblings. And the more Morgan gets close to Tricks and her as the days go, she realises that Morgan isn't entirely a cold and secretive person as he looks and there might even be a future with him if she decides to accept his job and all.
Troublemaker begins with a big bang with someone targeting Morgan but the thrill and suspense ended once he lived in with Bo and there begins his recuperating days. However, that intensity is shifted more towards the romantic and warmly side as readers get to read more about his interaction with Tricks and getting to know more of Bo and the Hamrickville residents. As much as I enjoyed reading the interaction between Bo, Morgan and Tricks, there are times I find they are a tad too much, especially how Bo fussed over Tricks (although it's a joy to read from a dog lover's perspective and I really learned a lot more about a dog's behaviours here.) Other issues such as a domestic brawl of one family clearly demonstrated Bo's and Morgan's abilities of solving an intense situation (it was a complicated family with power, wealth and all) but instead I was expecting something more surrounding Morgan's killer and his/her motive. The suspense part did come eventually but it was towards the last two chapters which I felt was too quick and well, a bit anti-climatic.
While this isn't Linda Howard's best, it was still considered a good read in the romantic department (and then there's Tricks who's adorable and intelligent.)