Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Anne Stuart’s Bad Boys, #4
Hero: Alexander Caldicott
Heroine: Jane Dexter
Date of Publication: July 5, 2015
Started On: August 17, 2015
Finished On: August 17, 2015
Anne Stuart books are a treasure I keep, to indulge in between books, or whenever I hit a reading stump because there is no other author who scratches the reading itch as well as Anne Stuart does. Book 4 in her Bad Boy series, Partners in Crime is actually quite mellow compared to most of her stories. I wouldn’t label Alexander Caldicott (Sandy) as a bad boy. Nevertheless, in true Anne Stuart style, Sandy gives the sexy to the story in a way you can’t get enough of.
An erroneous caption in a newspaper leaves small town librarian Jane Dexter with the belief that Sandy is one of the shadiest criminals in the country, capable of committing the crime that she wants. When Jane knocks on the door of Sandy’s motel room, he can barely muster enough interest in her, that is before she opens her mouth, demanding him that he commit arson for her. Sandy’s view of Jane the minute he opens the motel door is definitely interesting enough to highlight.
“She was short, and he liked tall women. She had mousy brown hair, and he was partial to blondes. Her eyes were brown, too, and partially obscured by wire-rimmed glasses that gave her a faintly startled look. Her mouth was too generous, and so was her nose, and her clothes were drab, boring, the sort of things worn by a Midwestern librarian. She couldn’t have been much older than thirty, or much younger, either. He stood in the doorway, looking down at her, trying to summon up at least an ounce of polite interest.”
Jane believes that its just her rotten luck that the man who stirs in her a carnal interest of the type she had never felt before turns out to be the man who could actually fulfill her needs when it comes to committing crimes of the kind that could get her locked up for good. However, that doesn’t deter Jane from seeking him out and making a play to entice Sandy into working for her. Jane’s view of Sandy is just as fascinating as Sandy’s view of her, worthy of a mention.
“He was tall, a bit over six feet, and beautifully coordinated. His shoulders were just broad enough, his legs long, his hands, from what she could see from a distance, were well shaped. His hair was blond, probably lightened from hours on the deck of a yacht or racing around a tennis court, and his remaining tan set off features that were just this side of perfection. She hadn’t gotten close enough to see his eyes, but she knew they had to be perfect Aryan blue. His mouth was thin but sexy, his teeth very white, his cheekbones and jaw chiseled. He even had a perfect nose, damn him.”
When Jane turns up on Sandy’s doorstep, for the first time in weeks, hell, for the first time in months, Sandy feels alive, invigorated about the next day and what’s to come. Life had been losing all meaning for him of late, his career not giving him that jolt of satisfaction, his life seemingly a benign existence that he just wakes up to face every morning.
The adventure that Jane and Sandy embark upon is a hilarious one. True to Anne Stuart’s legendary style, the dialogues between Sandy and Jane are laugh out loud worthy at times. No two ways about it. Jane’s snarky attitude entices Sandy to get into her mind, to explore the curves that she hides behind the drab suits, the persona that she hides behind lest anyone take enough notice of her.
Sandy continues to live the lie that Jane believes him to be, and all along, these two fall in love, a love based on a lie that could have devastating consequences if and when Jane were to find out. But then again, Anne Stuart writes characters of the type that do not wallow in what cannot be changed and the ending with tiny bites of surprising aspects to it, gave the story a well rounded edge to it.
Like I said earlier on, I wouldn’t describe Sandy as the dark bad boys of the type that Anne Stuart is well known in the romance genre for. Sandy is sexy, smart, with a core of goodness and integrity to him that shines through as he tries to divert Jane from her bloodthirsty mission by any means possible. That doesn’t mean that Sandy doesn’t bring along the vitality to the story as required. He does that, in spades and I believe he was the right fit for the story under the circumstances. But then again, I keep envisioning a bit of an edgier Sandy, someone who forces Jane out of her shell with the “cruelty” that only heroes of that nature are capable of. Alas, that wasn’t meant to be in Partners in Crime.
Jane is a character who had come from one of those families that aren’t actually trying to be cruel, but ends up being just that towards one of their children. Jane had learnt long ago to expect her dues and move on. Never in a hundred years would she have expected to fall for a seedy criminal, but that is exactly what she thinks she has fallen for, in the process of committing the only crime she had ever wanted to commit in her straight and narrow life.
Sandy brings to Jane’s life, the color that had been missing in it. The sensations that she had never gotten to experience with another. The kind of feelings that she had always shunned because she thought they weren’t for someone like her. To find it with Sandy, to accept it, well, that’s the fun part of the story.
Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart. If you want one of her darker heroes, this won’t do any good. But nevertheless it does provide the sort of storytelling that only Anne Stuart can deliver.
Final Verdict: A bit more mellow than the usual, but just as sexy. Just as good!
The feel of his hand on her breast, even through the lacy bra, shocked and aroused her. His mouth was on hers, wet, hot, seeking, his tongue and lips taking complete, unquestioning control of her and overwhelming any ounce of restraint she might have had. Too many emotions were batting at her, too much adrenaline, too much stimulation. She snaked her arms around his neck, pressed her breast against his hand and kissed him back, wanting nothing more than his mouth on hers, that desperate, erotic claiming that was shaking her to the very marrow of her bones.
“What would you call home?”
“The second floor of a run-down Victorian house in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I used to live in a boxy apartment but it drove me crazy.”
“Somehow I don’t see you as a Victorian.”
“Don’t you? I’ve been called prudish in my time.” She knew her voice sounded raw, but she hoped he wouldn’t notice.
Sandy noticed everything. “Who called you prudish? Your ex-husband?”
“Does he have anything to do with your Victorian lifestyle?”
Jane sighed. “I wish you wouldn’t be so damned nosy. Why don’t we change the subject?”
“Lovely weather,” he said obediently enough.
He was darkness, powerful, sexual, wiping out the terrors of the night and the anguish of loss and betrayal, he was life and heat and desire, and he was everything she ever needed.
He rolled onto his back, taking her with him, and she was on fire, her hands desperate for the feel of his flesh beneath her, her mouth bold with deep, hurried kisses. He put his mouth on her breasts, and she arched her back like a cat in the intensity of her reaction, he slid his hand between her thighs and she shattered at his first gentle touch.
“Easy,” he whispered. “Easy now.” But she couldn’t, wouldn’t slow down. She was shaking all over, covered with a fine film of sweat, shivering and helpless as her needs raged out of control, unable to even say the words to beg him.
With a moan of fear and anticipation she sank down, guided by his hands on her hips, until he filled her. She let out a muffled cry at the unexpected feel of him, and the hands on her hips held her still, giving her time to accustom herself to his invasion. She bowed her head for a moment, absorbing the impact, and then she opened her eyes to meet his fierce gaze.
“I still don’t trust you,” she whispered, not giving an inch.
He grinned then, and his fingers dug into her hips as he slowly withdrew. “It doesn’t matter.” And he arched up, deep within her.
He reached down and held her hips, striving with unquestionable intent, and his mouth covered hers, his tongue in her mouth, a dual invasion. She was crying, she knew she was, she could feel her face wet with tears, but all she could feel was the man within her body, carrying her places she hadn’t even dreamed existed.
Suddenly his body tensed, and he lifted his head, his eyes glittering down into hers with a fierce intensity. She could feel the life, the love pumping into her, and then everything shattered around her, dissolving into a maelstrom of sensation and dark, dangerous release.