Jennifer Chaise (great name for her starting occupation) grew up poor and taking care of her bipolar mother. At age nineteen someone encouraged her to date the rich gentleman old enough to be her grandfather, which led to her embarking on a career as a professional mistress. Which she's fine with--she enjoys the perks, behaves perfectly, does a lot of physical upkeep and always keeps her own money stash. It's all going relatively well with her married boyfriend of two years, Nick Noble. Yeah, he's got a temper, but mostly he takes that out on his current wife, Barbara. Jennifer knows how to behave, like staying oblivious to whatever he's doing for work. And hey, the money makes up for it.
Then the two of them go away to Las Vegas and the wife shows up. Jennifer sees the fight and tactfully hides out in the nearest bar for 2.5 hours, but when she returns...she sees Barbara face down on the bed, Nick's covered in blood, and when his bodyguard tells him that Jennifer briefly saw the altercation, he yells "Shit. Find her. We're gonna have to do something about her, too." Jennifer is no dumb bunny and runs for it--eventually settling down in the small nearby burg of Boulder City because she reasonably expects she'd get caught if she left the state and there's no way Nick would expect her to crash there. After a terrible attempt at re-dyeing her hair, she ends up shaving it bald and getting mannish clothes and trying to pass as some kind of weird punk girl. She gets a waitress job at the local diner because the owner, Buzz, is the sort who takes care of the people around him. (And presumably he never asks for ID.) She says her name is Doris and then is all, "Crap, why did I say that, now I'm stuck with it!" Hah. Though her ex's henchmen do try to blanket the town with her photo (turns out he's told the cops she stole from him), she doesn't get recognized as far as she can tell. And oddly enough, no matter how many searches she does, she never does find that anyone's been missing Mrs. Noble.
Anyway, Jennifer/Doris ends up liking Boulder City. Everyone there is super nice and basically adopts her even though she's super funny looking and has nobody and might even be a little suspicious--though she does let on to a few people that she is running from a boyfriend that went bad. Heck, she even gets a library card without anyone demanding that she have ID. She also makes friends with a retired professor and her dog, and the professor lets her house sit for the dog for months while she flies to England. Louise the professor also wants to know what's up with "Doris," which she lets out in dribs and drabs. Jennifer also makes friends with Hedda, a teenage girl whose rocky family situation reminds Jennifer of her own growing up all too well. She realizes that while there were plusses about her rich lifestyle, she's really been enjoying catching up on her reading and making friends--something she's never really been able to do much of in her peripatetic life.
And then there's Alex, the cop next door. Who's a perfectly nice dude and figures out who Jennifer is from those fliers, but politely doesn't tell her. He does some searches on his own and reasonably concludes that the girl with a clean record being reported by a guy who keeps getting investigated might have a reason to flee, and he'll wait until she's ready to spill. Which she eventually does because well, she'd like to stay here and at some point in time she's gonna have to clear this mess up. Especially after she becomes romantically involved with Alex. And it's all just very sweet and nice for the most part. There's one out-of-nowhere moment where the inevitable "whore" is dropped out of Alex, which annoyed me and seemed totally out of character for the dude--but it's at least over with VERY quickly. I seriously wondered if an editor made the author put that in or something.
As for the ending...well, I give the author credit for throwing in some definite surprises at the end of the story. I'll mention it below the spoiler space, but let's just say that a few things that we think are true while reading the book turn out not to be. It definitely made the ending very lively, and I kinda have to give the author credit for some twists I wasn't expecting in this one.
Overall, I'm giving it four stars. My mom is crazy about Robyn Carr and collects all of her books, but this is the first one I thought sounded like it had an interesting plot on the back, and it did!