"Another wonderful installment in the Virgin River series."
Reviewed by Sandi Shilhanek
Posted March 29, 2010
Romance | Women's Fiction Contemporary
Spring automatically brings to mind romance, new babies of
all varieties, and unfortunately spring cleaning. I'd like
to suggest you forget the spring cleaning for a day or so,
and immerse yourself instead in MOONLIGHT ROAD, the third
installment for this year of Robyn Carr's popular Virgin
MOONLIGHT ROAD will grip you from the very first page and
not let go of you until the last page is turned. It is the
story of Aiden Riordan and Erin Foley. Aiden is a brother
of the very manly Sean and Luke, whom we have met in
previous installments. Erin is the oldest sister of Marci
who we met in A Virgin River Christmas.
The first time Marcie and Aiden meet is less than stellar,
but it does mean that there really is no place but up for
their friendship to go, and watching it build from
friendship to a romantic relationship is guaranteed to keep
your eyes glued to the page until the last page is turned.
Not only does MOONLIGHT ROAD give us a front row seat to
watch another Riordan brother fall it allows us the
wonderful opportunity to catch up on previous favorites
including Marcie and her husband Ian.
When I closed the last page of MOONLIGHT ROAD I was sad to
see another wonderful installment finished, but more than
relieved that it ended the way it did, and to see why you're
going to have to be first in line at the bookstore when it
opens for your very own copy. I promise you won't be
So sheâ€™s hitting the pause button on her life and holing up
in a secluded (but totally upgraded, sheâ€™s not into roughing
it) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is looking forward to
really getting to know herself...not some shaggy-haired
mountain man she meets wandering the woods.
In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden
Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving
the Navy. Heâ€™s intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty
refugee from the rat race â€” meditating, journaling and
definitely keeping him at armâ€™s length. Heâ€™d love to get
closer...if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife donâ€™t
hold him back.
But maybe itâ€™s something in the water â€” unlikely romances
seem to take root in Virgin River...helped along with some
well-intentioned meddling, of course.
In the two weeks Aiden Riordan had been in Virgin River,
heâ€™d hiked over a hundred miles through the mountains, the
valleys, along the Pacific coast, and grown himself a pretty
hefty dark red beard. With his jet black hair and brows,
this legacy of his ancestors gave him a wild look. His four
year old niece, Rosie, who sported a full head of red curls
to go with her green eyes had said, â€śUnca Aid! Youâ€™re a Wide
Iwish Rose, too!â€ť
For a man without a mission for the first time since he
could remember, this lay-back time was working out to his
liking. Since undergrad in pre-med, he hadnâ€™t been without
incredibly stiff goals. Now, at age thirty-six, after
fourteen years in the Navy, he was between jobs, completely
unsure where heâ€™d land next, and he felt good about
it. Motivation Interruptus turned out to be a
delightful state of being. The only thing he was certain of,
he wasnâ€™t leaving Virgin River before the middle of summer.
His older brother Luke and sister-in-law Shelby were
expecting their first child, and he damn sure wasnâ€™t going
to miss that. His brother Sean would be home from Iraq soon
and planned a short leave before heading with his wife and
Rosie to his next assignment, and Aiden looked forward to a
little time with him as well.
The June sun beat down on him. He wore fatigue pants, hiking
boots and a tan tee shirt with salty perspiration rings
under the arms. He was wet down his chest and back and
smelled pretty ripe. He carried a camouflage backpack for
protein bars and water and strapped to his belt, a machete
for clearing any brush that got in his way. He had a ball
cap on his head and his black hair had already started to
curl out from under the edges. A four foot tall walking
staff had become his constant companion and since a chance
encounter with a too-confident mountain lion, he now carried
a bow and quiver of arrows. Of course if he ran into a real
cranky bear, he could be toast.
He wandered up a winding dirt road. It could be someoneâ€™s
driveway or an abandoned logging road, he was never sure
which. He was aiming for a ridge heâ€™d seen from below. At
the end of the drive, he came face to face with what
appeared to be an abandoned cabin. Experience had taught him
the differenceâ€”if the path to the outhouse facilities was
overgrown and it was especially run down, it was probably
vacant. There were no guarantees on that, however. Heâ€™d made
that assumption once and an old woman leveled a shot gun at
him and told him to scram. He gave the place a wide berth
and walked through the woods towards the ridge.
Of course there was no path; he used the machete to chop
away some of the overgrowth. He came out of the other side
to the most amazing, intoxicating sight. A woman wearing
very short khaki shorts was bent over at the edge of her
deck, backside pointed right at him. Even given his
expertise in that department, he couldnâ€™t tell her age, but
that was one beautiful booty on top of a couple of
magnificent, long, tan legs. By the collection of ceramic
pots and a watering can on the deck, he assumed she was
potting plants. One flower pot was balanced on the deck rail
above her. She appeared to be digging in the earth, scooping
dirt into a big pot.
He did know a couple of things. That butt and those legs
belonged to someone under the age of fifty and there didnâ€™t
appear to be a shotgun in sight. So, he chopped his way
through the trees intending to say a friendly hello.
Still bent over, she looked at him through her legs. A
beautiful blond, which made him smile, showing all his
glaringly white teeth like a slash in his red beard. And she
let out a huge, blood curdling scream, straightened
abruptly, hit her head on the deck rail, knocking off a
ceramic pot, which hit her on the noggin. And down she went.
â€śDamn,â€ť he muttered, running toward her as fast as he could.
He dropped the machete and staff about halfway to her.
She was sprawled face down, out cold, so he gently rolled
her over. She was stunning. Her face was as gorgeous
as the rest of her. And her pulse was beating nice and
strong in her carotid artery, but her forehead was bleeding.
Heâ€™d seen the pot hit her in the back of the head, but she
must have hit her forehead on the sharp edge of the deck
going down because in the center of that lovely brow, right
at her hairline, there was a gash. And it was gushing, as
head wounds liked to do.
Aiden pressed his hand over her cut to stanch the bleeding.
With his other hand, he pulled out his handkerchief, which
was thankfully clean. He replaced his hand with the white
hanky, pressing down. She moaned a bit, but didnâ€™t open her
eyes. With his thumb, he peeled back her lids one at a time;
her pupils were equal and reactive to light, a good sign so far.
While applying pressure to the wound, Aiden shrugged off his
backpack, quiver and bow. Then he scooped her up in his arms
and carried her across the deck and through the French doors
that were standing open, into the cabin. â€śAnybody home?â€ť he
called as he walked inside. Since there was no answer, he
assumed the woman lived here alone and that the big Lincoln
SUV was hers.
The leather sofa looked like a good betâ€”better than a bed or
even what appeared to be a very new and expensive designer
area rug and not something sheâ€™d want to bleed on. He placed
her carefully on the couch, her head slightly elevated.
He looked around. From the outside, it looked like an
ordinary old cabin with new siding and a freshly painted,
covered, railed deck with chairs. Inside it was a richly
furnished, very classy showplace.
He gingerly lifted the handkerchief; the bleeding had slowed
to a trickle. There was blood on her white tee shirt,
however. The first matter at hand was ice, then a bandage of
some kind. He was in a large combination
living/dining/kitchen. A table sat in front of the opened
French doors out of which he now saw the view heâ€™d been in
search of. Heâ€™d been so taken with that fine butt, he hadnâ€™t
noticed the cabin was built right on the ridge.
Aiden looked around for a phone, but didnâ€™t see one. Then he
washed his hands and rummaged through the freezer for ice,
which he wrapped in a couple of dish towelsâ€”one for the
front of her head, one for the back. The dish towels still
had price tags from Williams-Sonoma on them. He propped her
head against one ice pack and laid the other on her
forehead. Even the application of cold didnâ€™t rouse her, so
off he went in search of a bandage.
The kitchen was on the west end of the cabin but on the
opposite side were two doors. The one on the left led to a
good sized bedroom and on the right, a large bathroom.
Inside the bathroom, the most obvious place to find first
aid supplies, a door connected the bedroom to the bath.
And sure enough, under the sink, a blue canvas zipper bag
with First Aid emblazoned in white on the canvas. He grabbed
it and hurried back to her. In his experienced hands, it
took only seconds to apply a little anti-bacterial cream and
a butterfly to close the wound, covered by a band aid. He
reapplied the ice pack.
The next immediate order of business was getting her to an
emergency room for a head CT; the loss of consciousness
after a blow to the head could mean trouble. The longer she
stayed unconscious, the more it concerned him, but he had
moved fastâ€”she hadnâ€™t been out more than a couple of minutes
so far. He saw a purse on the kitchen counter and went to
rifle through it for a phone, car keys, ID, anything. He
unceremoniously dumped the contents and was bent over the
counter, sifting through the loose contents, when a loud
shriek rent the air. His head came up sharply and he whacked
the cupboards that hung over the counter. â€śAh!â€ť he yelled,
grabbing the back of his head. He pinched his eyes closed
hard, trying to get a grip through blinding pain.
But she continued to scream.
He turned toward her. She was scooting away from him on the
leather couch, screaming her head off, her ice packs spilled
to the floor.
â€śShut up!â€ť he ordered. She stopped abruptly, her hand
covering her mouth. â€śWeâ€™re both going to have brain damage
if you donâ€™t stop doing that!â€ť
â€śGet out of here!â€ť she commanded. â€śIâ€™ll call the police!â€ť
He rolled his eyes and shook his head. â€śGreat idea. Whereâ€™s
the phone?â€ť He lifted a cell phone from the contents of the
purse. â€śThis one has no signal.â€ť
â€śWhat are you doing here? Why are you in my house? In my purse?â€ť
He walked toward her, her purse hanging in his hand. â€śI saw
you hit your head. I brought you inside and put ice and a
bandage on it, but now we have toâ€“â€ť
â€śYou hit me in the head?â€ť she screeched, digging at
the sofa with her heels to scoot away again.
â€śI didnâ€™t hit youâ€”apparently I startled you when I came out
of the forest and you jumped; you hit the back of your head
on the porch rail and one of your pots fell on your head. I
think you got the cut on your forehead when you hit the deck
on the way down. Now whereâ€™s the phone?â€ť
â€śOh God,â€ť she said, her fingers going to the bandage,
gingerly touching it. â€śThe phoneâ€™s going to be installed
tomorrow. Along with my satellite dish. So I can have
internet and watch movies.â€ť
â€śThat isnâ€™t going to help much. Listen, itâ€™s a small cut.
Head wounds bleed a lot. I doubt itâ€™ll even leave a scar.
But losing consciousness is--â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll give you money if you just wonâ€™t hurt me.â€ť
â€śI bandaged your head, for Godâ€™s sake! Iâ€™m not going to hurt
you and I donâ€™t want money!â€ť He lifted the purse in his
hand. â€śI was looking for your car keysâ€”you need an x-ray.
Maybe a couple of stitches.â€ť
â€śWhy?â€ť she asked, her voice quivering.
He sighed. â€śBecause you lost consciousnessâ€”not a good sign.
Now, where are your keys?â€ť
â€śWhy?â€ť she asked again.
â€śIâ€™m going to drive you to the emergency room so you can get
your head examined!â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll do it,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™ll drive myself. You can just go
now. Right now.â€ť
He took a couple of steps toward her. He crouched so he
wouldnâ€™t be looking down at her, but didnâ€™t get too close
because he wasnâ€™t sure of her. She appeared to be a bit
unstable. Or maybe scared of him? He tried to put himself in
her positionâ€”she woke up with blood on her shirt, a wild man
plowing through the contents of her purse. â€śWhatâ€™s your
name?â€ť he asked softly.
She looked at him doubtfully. â€śErin,â€ť she finally said.
â€śWell, Erin, it isnâ€™t a good idea for you to drive yourself.
If you have a serious or even semi-serious head injury, you
could lose consciousness again, get dizzy or disoriented,
get sick, suffer blurred vision, any number of things. Now
try not to be nervousâ€”Iâ€™ll take you to the ER. Once I get
you there, you can call a friend or family member. Iâ€™ll have
someone pick me up.â€ť
â€śAnd you think it is a good idea for me to get in a
car with some homeless guy?â€ť
He stood up. â€śIâ€™m not homeless! I was hiking through the woods!â€ť
â€śWell then, youâ€™ve been hiking a long time! Because you look
like youâ€™ve been living in the woods!â€ť
He crouched again, to get on her level. â€śNumber oneâ€”you have
to hold the ice packs I made on the front and back of
your head. I donâ€™t see how you can do that while you drive.
Number two, itâ€™s too risky for you to drive yourself, as I
have very patiently explained. And number three, stop being
so goddamn prissy and get in the car with a smelly hiker
because your brain could be swelling as we speak and you
could be hopelessly disabled for the rest of your pig-headed
life! Now where are the fucking keys?!â€ť
She looked over her shoulder. There was a hook by the door;
her keys dangled from it. â€śHow do you know that stuff? About
â€śI was an EMT in collegeâ€”a long time ago,â€ť he said, which
was the truth. He wasnâ€™t sure why he didnâ€™t just tell her he
was a physician. Maybe because he sure didnâ€™t look like one
at the moment. In fact, as she had pointed out, he looked
like a homeless guy. But there was also the fact that his
area of expertise was a long way from the headâ€”and he didnâ€™t
feel like getting into that. She was already spooked. Being
spooked didnâ€™t stop her from being bossy and bitchy,
however. His head hurt, too. He was fast losing patience
with this patient. â€śNow letâ€™s gather up your ice and little
towels and hit the road.â€ť
â€śIf you turn out to be some kind of homicidal maniac, youâ€™re
going to have one pissed off ghost on your hands,â€ť she
threatened, stooping to gather her ice off the floor. When
she straightened, she wobbled slightly. â€śWhoa.â€ť
He was beside her instantly, arm around her waist, steadying
her. â€śYou took a mean knock on the head, kid. This is why
youâ€™re not driving.â€ť
He walked her outside, grabbing the keys and slamming the
door on the way out. That was the first time he realized
that the west side of the house with a deck faced the ridge,
but the front of the house faced the road. He had to lift
her into the front seat and help her arrange the ice in the
dish towels so she could put them against her lumps. He
noticed that she wrinkled her nose; okay, so it was
obviousâ€”he mightâ€™ve generated a little body odor.
â€śI need my purse,â€ť she said. â€śMy insurance cards and ID.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll get it,â€ť he said. â€śI have to close the doors to the
deck anyway.â€ť But he took the car keys with him, for safety
reasons. He scraped the contents off the counter and back
into her purse; he put the purse in her lap. Then he got in
and started driving. â€śYou might have to give me some
directions, Iâ€™m not from around here.â€ť
She groaned and dropped her head back. â€śIâ€™m not from around
â€śNever mind, I can fake it,â€ť he said. â€śI can find highway 36
from Virgin River. What are you doing here, if youâ€™re not
from around here?â€ť
â€śTaking a break from work and having solitude,â€ť she
answered, exasperation in her voice. â€śThen Charles Manson
came through the trees, carrying a three foot long knife,
and startled me. So much for peace and quiet.â€ť
â€śCome onâ€”I let my beard grow, thatâ€™s all. Iâ€™m on vacation
and didnâ€™t feel like shaving, so sue me.â€ť
â€śAs it happens, I could. Iâ€™ve been known to sue people on
He laughed. â€śI shouldâ€™ve known. A lawyer. And by the way, I
was carrying a machete for cutting away the brush so I could
get through the woods when thereâ€™s no path.â€ť
â€śWhy are you here?â€ť she asked him.
â€śVisiting family. I have a brother who lives around here. He
and his wife are getting ready to be parents for the first
time and Iâ€™m... Iâ€™m...â€ť He cleared his throat. â€śLetâ€™s just
say Iâ€™m between jobs.â€ť
She laughed. â€śUnemployed. Big surprise. Let me guessâ€”youâ€™ve
been between jobs for a while now.â€ť
She was pissing him off. He couldâ€™ve leveled with her, that
he was a doctor planning his next move. But she was snooty
and superior and he just didnâ€™t feel like it. â€śAt
least long enough to grow a beard,â€ť he said evasively.
â€śYou know, if you cleaned up a little, you might be able to
land a job,â€ť she advised very sagely.
â€śIâ€™ll certainly take that into consideration.â€ť
â€śThe beard is a little crazy,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™ll put off
potential employers.â€ť Then under her breath she added, â€śNot
to mention the smell...â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll bear that in mind. Although my niece likes it.â€ť He
turned to peer at her. â€śThe beard, that is.â€ť
â€śI thought you said your brother was having his first
â€śA different brotherâ€™s child likes it.â€ť
â€śAh, so you have more than one brother. Just out of
curiosity, what do your brothers think of this lifestyle?
This... um... between jobs lifestyle.â€ť
â€śI think you should be quiet now,â€ť he said. â€śSave whatever
brain cells you have left. We have a forty minute drive to
Valley Hospital, west of Grace Valley. Rest. Silently.â€ť
â€śSure,â€ť she said. â€śFine.â€ť
What did his brothers think of his decision? They thought he
was nuts. Heâ€™d been totally committed to the Navy; he loved
the Navy. But the military gives with one hand and takes
away with the other.
When Aiden had been a brand new MD, compliments of a Navy
scholarship, his first assignment was as a GMOâ€”General
Medical Officerâ€”aboard ship. It was a two year assignment
that dry docked every six months for a few months. They put
into port regularly, during which time he could see the
world and feel earth beneath his feet, but his life was
spent aboard ship. The medical officer was under a great
deal of pressure 24/7â€”being the only doctor in charge of a
complete medical staff and the only officer aboard who could
relieve the shipâ€™s captain of duty. He knew the pressure was
extreme when he found himself taking his duty phone into the
shower with himâ€”that was over the top. They spent their
share of time in the Persian Gulf, which meant also giving
emergency medical treatment to civilians in troubleâ€”mostly
fishermen or shipâ€™s crewmen who didnâ€™t speak English.
His reward for that duty was his residency in OB-Gyn, which
obligated him to more commitment to the Navy. But it had
been worth itâ€”he took care of the female military personnel
and wives of active duty and retired sailors and marines. It
was a good life. He had stayed in one place for a long
He was due a promotion, and the Navy felt it was time for
him to go to sea again. It would mean General Medical
Officer againâ€”not in his specialty. There wasnâ€™t a lot of
call for an OB-Gyn aboard an aircraft carrier. Aiden didnâ€™t
mind being out to sea so much, but he was thirty-six. It
wasnâ€™t something he talked about, but he felt there were
things missing from his life. A wife and family for one
thing, and he wasnâ€™t likely to meet a woman who could fill
that bill on a big gray boat. He needed to be on land.
Sometimes he asked himself why that even matteredâ€”itâ€™s not
as though being on dry land had worked so far. Right after
his stint as a GMO, at the age of twenty-eight, heâ€™d met and
quickly married Annalee, who was a total nutcase. They were
married for three whole months, during which she demolished
every breakable object they owned. She had been volatile,
crazed, jealous and insaneâ€”her moods shifted faster than the
sands of time.
That experience left him gun-shy and slowed him down a
little, but a couple of years later he was ready to get back
in the game, feeling older and wiser. Still, he didnâ€™t meet
any women who were contenders for the exalted position as
his wife and the mother of his children.
But it wasnâ€™t going to happen at sea.
He just plain wasnâ€™t ready to commit anymore time to the
Navy. His brothers thought fourteen years, only six from his
twenty and retirement benefits, made him nuts to get out.
But in his mind, these were his best years. He was
still young enough to be an involved husband and father if
he ever met the right woman. The retirement age of forty-two
would be pushing it.
He glanced at Erin. Her eyes were closed and she held his
ice packs on her forehead and the back of her head. Heâ€™d
like a woman who looked like thatâ€”but sheâ€™d have to be sweet
and far less arrogant. He was looking for someone soft and
nurturing. You donâ€™t go looking for a hard ass to be the
mother of your children, and this one was a hard ass. Of
course, what was he to expect? She admitted itâ€”she was a lawyer.
He chuckled to himself. She was probably a medical
What do you think about this review?
5 comments posted.
Re: Another wonderful installment in the Virgin River series.
As usual, Sandi Shilhanek does a great job with her reviews. She holds my interest all the time and I just feel a wave of comfort as I read her words and I won't dare skip over any of them! I am always eager to read whatever she has to write. I guess you can say that she is a "natural" writer, with warmth and care in her selection of words and doesn't write just to get it over with, like some do. She makes you want to read each word and absorb it, with you enjoying the entire review. I could definitely seeing her writing a book about a small town with family oriented people who are caring and helpful and find ways to be friendly to all. If she ever wrote a book, I'd be the first in line to purchase it! Great job, Sandi; best of luck always.
(Peg Fragale 5:16pm March 29, 2010)
I think as usual Sandi has done a great job of putting her thoughts into the blog and coming out with a great gift for those who love the Authors she is writing about. I love all of RC VR books and cannot alway put into words my thoughts but Sandi has no problem doing that. Another great job well done.
(Diana Smith 5:47pm March 29, 2010)
Great job Sandi, I love all the Virgin River books, especially this one.
(Joyce Mandle 5:56pm March 29, 2010)
This is just great Sandi. And very professionally put together. Love it!
(Julie Wolf 6:27pm March 29, 2010)
I absolutely loved the book. So sad when it ended and I think this the best of them all. Great review Sandi.
(Nancy Alexander 6:37pm March 29, 2010)
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