Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Hero: James McKinley
Heroine: Annie Sutherland
Date of Publication: July 1, 1996
Started On: December 18, 2011
Finished On: December 20, 2011
Moonrise is going to end up being one of those novels that is going to be hard for me to rate. Not because it wasn’t engrossing enough but rather because I felt that a vital aspect of the story was missing in action even when the story ended. I wanted so much more for both James and Annie who seemed to go through so much in the span of just a couple of days. And although the mystery and suspense potion of the novel was superbly done as always, the romance aspect of the novel seemed to suffer making this novel not as enjoyable as it would have been otherwise.
27 year old Annie Sutherland is a woman who has led a sheltered life, a woman who has been manipulated endlessly by her father without even her being aware of the fact. With the sudden death of her father Annie withdraws into herself in grief until a missing picture from her father’s living room causes her to question how her father had actually died. Her quest to find the truth brings her to the doorstep of her father’s protégé James McKinley, a man whom she remembers as being part pf her life since Annie was 7 years old.
The James that she encounters is such a different version from the man that haunts her memories. The James that she finds in a remote cabin in an island off of Mexico has an aura of dangerousness that makes her nervous, but not enough to make her back down from her quest to find what it is that had killed her father. Though James would rather kill Annie than tell her the truth, something deep inside of him stalls at the thought of putting his hands around her neck and squeezing the life out of her. And James knows deep inside that his reluctance to end her life is reason enough to send her packing.
With killers turning up every step of the way, James and Annie travel from Mexico to the US and then to Ireland to find the truth. In the process both Annie and James are forced to remember their shared past and a fragile connection that had gone beyond anything they have encountered before or ever since, a passion and attraction that still seems to linger on stronger than ever. And when the truth does come out at the very end, it is a surprising one that proves Anne Stuart’s mastery when it comes to weaving tales of mystery and suspense.
James turned out to be a yummy hero of the dangerous type. He is a lethal killing machine, someone whose soul cries out to wash away all the blood that he has shed in the name of justice and a country he believed in. His tormented soul is one that comes across vividly, his one weakness being the attraction that burns deep inside of him to possess Annie Sutherland, the one woman who had remained forbidden to him from such a long time back. James is well versed in the art of deception, as good as the man who taught and mentored him, the man whose daughter trusts him with her life; a mission that James knows is a foolhardy one even long before killers start turning up at his doorstep.
Annie proved to be a difficult heroine to place. She has been brought up all her life thinking her father to be totally someone else from the man he actually was, a man who had molded and mapped out her life for her from childhood until his death. The fact that her father turned out to be the total antithesis of what she believed him to be is what makes her change her attitude and outlook towards everything that happens afterwards, her courage and wits the only two things that keeps her going even when James makes no secret of what he wants to do to her.
Though there was this sweet bit of shared history and passion between James and Annie, I felt that they had both outgrown who they were back then and had turned into much harder versions of themselves to be really able to love and accept each other as they were. James tries his hardest to keep Annie at bay, he fights constantly with his feelings that should have made his capitulation that much sweeter. And though as mouth-wateringly sexy as James was, their encounters barely hinted at the deeper emotions between them, that just sort of left me feeling empty deep inside.
Somehow I kept up my hope and belief that towards the end, I would see one thing, no matter how insignificant from James that would signal that he feels a gut wrenching love for the woman for whom he kills and taints his hands with more blood even when his heart and soul yearns for sweeter and softer things in life that he knows aren’t meant for him. But alas, the story ends on an empty note, and though a shared happily ever after is an implied one, I just did not feel the love that should have been there between two characters who held me riveted throughout their story.
Recommended for hard-core fans of Anne Stuart.
She felt hot, strong, alive against him, and he found he had this crazy urge to move his mouth down to the side of her neck, to press it against her, to taste her skin. He wanted to feel her breasts, wanted to pull her T-shirt up and feel her hot skin against his. Damn, he wanted her.
She expected annoyance, tolerance, perhaps even a distant amusement. She hadn’t expected his reaction.
His arms closed around her like a vice, pulling her tightly up against him. And she didn’t have time to kiss him—the touch of her mouth against his seemed to ignite a firestorm. She could feel him through every inch of her body, the lean, deceptively strong body beneath the suit, the heat and lure of muscle and sinew, the sheer intensity of him. She felt as if she were being absorbed into a maelstrom, and all she could do was hold onto him as he kissed her, he kissed her, using his tongue, kissing her with a thoroughness she’d never experienced.
He kissed the salty tears from her cheeks, her jaw, her neck. And then he kissed her mouth, slowly at first, tasting her pain and despair. Tasting her desire.
He didn’t know whether he turned her in his arms, or whether she shifted herself. He only knew she was astride him, facing him, her long legs wrapped around his hips, and the kissing had gone long past comfort.
He slid his arm under her waist, hauled her up, and entered her that way, sliding in deep, so deep, and her guttural cry was a heartbreaking pleasure.
He couldn’t stop. She wouldn’t let him. She twisted her head around and kissed him, and he wanted to keep on and on, to fill her mouth, her body, her soul with him. To have her take everything and then want more.
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