Mimi and Zeke have always been the couple everyone else wanted to be, making married life look easy despite their rough start. But Zeke's been acting strange lately, closed off and irritable, and marriage counseling hasn't done any good. But their separation is happening at the worst time, when Mimi's going from stay-at-home mom to mayor, when their moody teenage daughter is about to graduate and head off to college, and when the whole town is watching. But if Zeke can't open up to his wife, his temporary stay at a friend's hunting cabin just may become permanent.
The Verdict: If the previous two books in the series hadn't been so damned good, I probably would have passed this one up, not only because I hate to read anything out of order, but because I wasn't sure I could get into a story about two people trying to save their marriage. New or rediscovered love is what I generally enjoy when it comes to romance novels, and watching two people work through their issues just to get back where they started has never been something I've looked forward to. But like the other Whispering Bay novels, That Man of Mine had me hooked in no time.
I liked Mimi when we met her in the earlier books, and handing her the job as newly elected mayor certainly gave things and interesting twist. She was a teen pregnancy statistic turned stay at home mom, and running for mayor seems to be the first thing she's really done for herself since accepting Zeke's marriage proposal when she was eighteen.
I can't say I liked Zeke too much in the previous books, though. It's not that he was a bad guy or anything, but he didn't seem to have much of a human edge to him. He was always rigid and gruff, and while he may have been the best looking man in town, we never really saw any depth to him. But finding out the real issue between him and Mimi and watching him struggle to do the right thing in order to win her back added a whole new dimension to his character.
I was afraid this would be one of those stories where the couple had to go through hell in order to come together again, but I was relieved to find that wasn't the case. Sure, they had some disagreements, and Zeke was a stubborn ass, but neither of them was willing to let their marriage go, and they certainly didn't want to hurt each other.
I was also worried that some part of Zeke was one of those rigidly old fashioned guys who didn't want his wife showing him up in town, but again, false alarm. Turns out he was crazy supportive of her, even when their future together was in question, and the issues in their marriage were actually outside factors that simply had to be faced.
Getting a closer look inside Zeke's mind just made me love him, even if I did want to knock him upside his thick head a few times. But it was clear he was still madly in love with his wife, an incredible brother, and a responsible cop. He may have seemed gruff, but his family was the most important thing in the world to him, and who can't love a man like that?
There's lots more to the story than just repairing their marriage, though. The Bunco Babes are out in full force, there's discord at City Hall, their kids aren't handling the separation like they expected, a new city employee might have a slimy side, and then there's the not so small matter of small town gossip. If you've ever lived in a small town, you'll know this well. If you haven't… Well, this will probably convince you to keep it that way. But even though the rumor mill is in overdrive, it's clear that everyone in town is on their side — just another great thing about this series. That Man of Mine is another well-written, interesting, and ultimately romantic story, and it just might be my favorite in the series now. I kind of wish this series could go on for about a dozen more books.
Buy this book now. Hell, buy everything Geraci writes.
***FicCentral received this book from TKA Distribution (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review.