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Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Hero: John Thomas Murphy
Heroine: Maddy Lambert
Date of Publication: December 28, 1985
Started On: December 24, 2011
Finished On: December 25, 2011
So, I seem to be making my way slowly through the back-list of books published by the one and only Anne Stuart. The one thing that you can always count on with Anne Stuart; she delivers a story that will keep you engrossed, even if it is a book you want to throw against the wall towards the end.
30 year old Maddy Lambert makes her way to the war-torn country of San Pablo to meet her father who had upped and left one day with his idealistic view of the world when Maddy had been just 17 years old. Maddy had been heartbroken and devastated to say the least to lose the one person who had been distant but the only parent who had let her be unlike her mother who had seen each and every thing about Maddy as a way to pick on her. Needless to say, the 17 year old Maddy had been shy and an introvert who finds in the war-hardened soldier turned CIA official John Thomas Murphy a soul that reaches out to her and soothes her woes away. But John too turns his back on her and leaves with her father and Maddy believes herself to be well and cured of her infatuation for a man whose one haunting kiss that had practically reeked of his hunger for her still haunts her.
Maddy arrives after a bone jarring journey only to find that no one believes that she is the daughter of Samuel Eddison Lambert, not even John himself who has turned into a much more dangerous and wilder version of the man she remembers. And Maddy finds that she is as susceptible as ever when it comes to John, even when he does his best to keep her at arm’s length, and even John himself cannot deny the connection that he feels with Maddy, the woman who has been haunting his dreams for the past 14 years.
Amidst half truths, trickery and a whole lot of manipulation that Anne Stuart is so very good at delivering, Maddy and John stumble from one emotionally and sexually charged scene to the next, while at all times danger is just one step away lurking behind the shadows, something that continues to drive them apart until towards the very end of the book.
For the first time ever, I have to say I am disappointed in a book that Anne Stuart has written. I liked the heroine Maddy and her courage when it comes to facing each and everyone who has hurt her and failed her in so many ways. Her vindictive mother whom I would have loved to slap a few times and her father who feels nothing for his only daughter and intends to make use of her to drive across his point even from beyond the grave, and John who in my opinion fails her in the most heartbreaking way.
John might be the least “gamma” hero that I have encountered from all the Anne Stuart books I have read so far. His emotions regarding Maddy comes across a bit more clearly throughout the story, but he is every bit as ruthless when it comes to making use of Maddy even though he keeps her out of harms way and would rather die than have something happen to her. But time and yet again, John puts everything else above Maddy’s happiness, continues to keep leaving her to face his demons and fight the wars that has nothing to do with him but he feels responsible for, and yet expects Maddy to trust him and the way he feels about her.
I wanted Maddy to wake up, grow a backbone and leave John to his life, a life that he makes room for Maddy only when he is good and ready. I am all for ruthlessness, manipulations and even behavior that some readers might not be willing to forgive. But I need to know that when it comes to that vital point of no return, the hero would always choose the heroine no matter what. Sadly, I didn’t feel that with this book.
Recommended for hardcore fans of Anne Stuart like myself who wants to devour her books and cannot get enough of them, no matter how many books by hers you read.
He couldn’t have known. The moonlight wasn’t enough to illuminate the room, and the tears that spilled silently down her cheeks didn’t touch him. But suddenly the kiss softened, the hands gentled on her, the lips coaxed and teased and healed. And without any more thought she was kissing him back, reaching for him with her mouth while her hands were held back, seeking him out with her tongue, calling him to her in the only way she could.
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