REVIEW: Like No One Else by Maureen Smith

Re-read following recent re-release of Tommie’s sister, Frankie’s book, Whisper My Name, which I hadn’t read all these years. When I found Like No One Else back in 2010, I had no idea there was a book preceding it where we met Tommie (Frankie’s younger sister). Needless to say each book can easily be read as a stand alone without issue, but having now read WMN I have more insight into to Tommie’s life prior to her move to Houston, which is where this book picks up.

In WMN Tommie was anything but likable. The Purnell sisters couldn’t be more opposite. Tommie’s sex appeal and beauty are in your face, while Frankie hides her’s under a bushel…or an ugly muumuu, as it were. Frankie excelled at her career as an entomologist; whereas Tommie was struggling to find success as a ballet dancer. Their parents, particularly, Papa Purnell has always doted on and praised Frankie for her accomplishments, while constantly pointing out Tommie’s bad decision making and lack of direction. Tommie has firmly established her role as the black sheep of the Purnell family. All these factors contributed to Tommie and Frankie growing further apart over the years, but the icing on the cake happened when ‘Frumpy Frankie’ gets the hot cop, Sebastian Durand and he’s not interested in sexy Tommie in the least.

When we leave WMN Frankie and Tommie’s relationship is strained and Tommie has moved to NYC to finally make it as a dancer.

LNOE picks up four years after WMN leaves off. Tommie and Paulo met at Frankie and Sebastian’s wedding four years ago. There were definite sparks between them back then, but Paulo, sexy playboy that he is, ended up hooking up with another woman at the end of the night, much to Tommie’s dismay. Now both these San Antonio natives find themselves looking for a fresh start in Houston; Tommie has recently left NYC and opened a dance studio and Paulo is a homicide detective with the HPD. In the years since the wedding, they haven’t forgotten each other, or their attraction.

Kudos to Ms. Smith! Tommie is flawlessly redeemed in a plausible and engaging way that didn’t change Tommie into a completely different character. The good parts of Tommie that we’d come to know in WMN, such as her humor and wittiness, outgoing nature, and the sensual woman who is aware of her appeal to the opposite sex are still present. Here, Tommie has atoned for her sins against her sister (and Sebastian) and comfortable in who she is. She’s not perfect and she has some secrets, but she’s grown up a lot in those years.

LNOE sticks to a similar formula as its predecessor when it comes to the suspense plot in this story; the stranger lurking right under everyone’s noses and attacking his prey while the police are none the wiser as to who and why of the case. There was just the right amount of suspense while not being stingy with the sexy romance between these two characters. I enjoyed the witty banter between Tommie and Paulo. Tommie’s and Paulo’s backstories were also well-drawn and their chemistry jumps off the page.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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