Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Hero: Harry O’Dell
Heroine: Alessandra Lamont
Date of Publication: February 23, 2004
Started On: September 12, 2010
Finished On: September 13, 2010
My first Suzanne Brockmann certainly entertained me enough that she definitely makes an author of interest from this point forward. Though this by far isn’t the best romantic suspense novel I have read, I certainly enjoyed the different characters that made this book a pretty swell read.
Harry O’Dell, an FBI agent lives like he has got nothing to lose. Working on bringing down organized crime, his job had finally taken its toll on his family when his ex-wife and eldest son Kevin had been killed in a car crash as a result of a shooting that had only meant to be a scare tactic by the mob to scare Harry off his current investigation. Though his son Shaun and Emily the youngest are both alive and need him more than ever, he hands them over to his stepsister Marge who has been taking care of them for the past two years. The pain that he feels whenever he sees Shaun or Emily prevents him from visiting or spending any quality time with either of them. As a result, Shaun is sick and tired of telling his sister Emily that their father’s job in protecting the President is too important to be left alone to come and visit them for any length of time.
Alessandra Lamont is in a shit load of trouble. First her marriage of more than 6 years had come crashing down when her husband Griffin Lamont had traded her in for a newer younger version of a trophy wife. The one thing Alessandra had been darn happy about was the fact that Griffin had given her everything she had asked for, the house and the cars, and only asked for his mother’s azalea bush the one right outside the kitchen door. And then she had found out that the house had been triple mortgaged to the hilt, the cars were all leased and that Griffin had applied for bankruptcy. The next thing Alessandra knows, the police is knocking down her door wanting to know where Griffin was in association with a drug deal that had gone south. And then to top it all off, she had received the news that Griffin had been found hands tied behind his back with two shots to his head, killed in classic gang slaying style. And her troubles had been far from over even then. Alessandra being unable to bear children had set her heart on adopting Jane Doe, a baby she had come across at the Northshore Children’s Hospital where she did fund raising work. Jane had been labeled as not likely to be adopted because she was severely handicapped and had been born with a heart defect. Now with all her finances and stability in shambles around her, the Social Services had turned her down as a potential parent for Jane and that broke her heart more than anything else.
Though Alessandra doesn’t have much of an idea on how her soon to have been ex-husband had met his demise in such a fashion, she has an inkling that it had something to do with Micheal Trotta allegedly hip deep in illegal drug sales, prostitution and graft. Alessandra is more than shaken when she returns home one night after a visit to the hospital to find the whole place trashed with nothing left untouched. And then she receives the bone chilling phone call that requests her to find the money or she is next on the list. It is into this mess that Harry and George Faulkner, Harry’s partner for the past 8 months walks into. Although Harry’s melting brown eyes and rumpled look makes her want to launch herself at him and sob her heart out, Alessandra knows that she cannot rely on anyone to protect her.
Harry when he first lays eyes on Alessandra with her movie star good looks, softly lidded blue eyes, thick blond hair and perfectly proportioned body sends an unwanted arc of red hot need through him for the first time in 4 years. Harry despises himself for the fact that he could crave a woman who looked as warm as the North Pole in freezing temperatures. And to top it off in Harry’s mind she had deserved what had landed in her lap by marrying into the mob for the money and luxuries that life would bring.
When Alessandra is threatened within an inch of her life by none other than Micheal Trotta himself who is livid that Griffin had had the balls to double-cross him and steal a million dollars from him and is ready to make an example out of his wife gives her 48 hours to come up with the missing money. Alessandra barely makes the deadline and thinks she has got away scot free, that is until her house is blown up with the sole intention of killing her.
No matter how much Alessandra protests, she is taken into witness protection though the FBI’s main aim is to use her as bait to lure in Michael Trotta and convict him once and for all, a fact which is kept from Alessandra. Though Harry is prepared to keep himself away from Alessandra no matter how much she tempted him on so many levels, it proves to be harder than he realizes when Harry gets to know the actual woman underneath all the layers that Alessandra had perfected during her marriage to Griffin.
Before long, Michael’s thugs take the bait and Alessandra is livid when she finds out the role that the FBI had made her play unknowingly. Determined to strike out on her own and run away though the threat to her is quite large with the bounty on her head increasing by millions each day, Alessandra nearly does so until Harry convinces her that it would be better all around if he went along with her. Thus, with Alessandra in tow, Harry finds himself making his way to Colorado where his children were, in the hopes of sorting out the court order he had received that Marge wanted to adopt his children.
It is during the last leg of the trip that Harry and Alessandra both give into the obvious desire they have for one another. And it is in Colorado that Harry comes face to face with just how much hurt and anger and resentment that Shaun had stored away the past 2 years, and the fact that his sweet little Emily really had no recollection of who he was whatsoever. And it is Alessandra that stops Harry from giving up on his family, who patiently and stubbornly makes him see reason and in the end to whom Harry turns to when he sees just how much he had been willing to give up for his dead son when his children who were alive deserved so much more from him.
Intensely emotional at times and gripping with action at other moments, this is a book that makes you race through the pages until the very end. The ending which shows life 4 years afterwards for the O’Dells was a heartwarming one which I loved.