Author: Lori Foster
Page Count: 411 pages
Genre: romantic suspense
Copy for review provided by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations in anticipation of an honest review
Synopsis: She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened— he knows he's been drugged…even if Alani doesn't.
After she was kidnapped, Alani vowed never to trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts down a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that watching your partner in sexcipades run for the bathroom to vomit upon waking up and seeing you is a kick to the ol' self esteem. This is the situation in which Alani finds herself after a super hot night with Jackson; she thinks it's because he has regrets; he knows it's because he's been drugged. That much is revealed in the synopsis, but comes across much more...strongly...in the opening chapter of the book.
This setup brings up what one would hope would be logical questions. Who drugged him? Why? What ulterior motives could/do they have? Will they try again? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
If the story were completely devoted to the resolution of those issues, I would have been okay. Not thrilled, not immediately making lists of people to send the book to, but it would have been a solid story and a thoroughly acceptable way to pass an afternoon. Instead, I felt like we were kind of bouncing around like a pinball, out of control and hopefully just arriving at the ending in one piece.
I freely admit that I don't remember many of the side plots from the second book and, presumably, the first one as well, especially the one that deals with Alani's abduction. Maybe if I did I would be able to get behind the relationship between Alani and Jackson a little more. This author can write some good sexual tension, so I'll put that as a mark in the positive column, but after the innuendo was done I didn't really find a lot that made me relate to any of the characters individually or as an ensemble.
Trace as the super overprotective big brother (Alani is his baby sister) got really annoying after awhile. Dude, regardless of every bad thing that has happened to your sister, and those things are indeed legion, she is an adult woman who has every right to pursue happiness and peace in her life, especially when she is not doing anything immoral, illegal, dangerous, or destructive. If you consider sex with one of your best friends whom you trust with your life to be any of those things then you need better friends or a little bit of self reflection. That is all.
Alani, too, despite having to overcome a kidnapping and the resulting issues (and I'm not being dismissive of those issues, don't take that the wrong way) seems to miss opportunity after opportunity to live her own life and to move into a better place in her own life. Alani grabs onto little details and events and refuses to let them go, even when confronted with a much bigger issue that should make her happier! She can't get over that Jackson doesn't remember their first night together, even though it's apparent to everyone else on the planet that Jackson is completely ga-ga for her and wants to repeat the experience every night for the rest of his life! It's the same old punishing your current lover for other people's mistakes and it gets old in a hurry.
Other than the smoldering tension between Jackson and Alani, this story didn't have a lot to recommend it. I also have to stand corrected on my statement from earlier today, apparently, where I said that this is the third book in a trilogy. According to the bit at the end, there is another book coming out featuring another couple from this universe. I don't know right now that I'll be reading it sadly.
Overall Grade: C