When the handsome, wealthy Max Fortune, art collector extraordinaire, inherits five paintings at the death of his long-time friend and benefactor, he expects to receive them. Instead, his benefactor leaves only a clue to their whereabouts in a cryptic note which reads, "The most precious things I leave you, you'll find at the Robbins' Nest Inn."
Cleopatra Robbins, the beautiful owner of the Inn, always believed when the man of her dreams came along, she would know. When Max's fierce treasure hunt brings him to her doorstep, she realizes he is the embodiment of her fantasies -- except he's all wrong!
Could this hard-edged man make her risk trusting and loving again? Cleo decides to help Max break down his defenses, while keeping her own intact. Max knows she's hiding something - and by the time he realizes it's not the paintings, it's almost too late to save her from her dangerous past.
©2012 Jayne Ann Krentz (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"Jayne Ann Krentz at her best... with the snappy dialogue that has become her trademark and a cast of characters you want to know personally." (Romantic Times)
I wanted more meat. Audiobook narrator made it worse.
Cleo runs a small hotel/inn. Her parents were killed a few years ago. A small group of friends work at the Inn. They call themselves a “Family.” This book takes the prize for using the word “Family” more than any other book I’ve read. Max arrives. Because he was a friend of Cleo’s friend, she gives him a job at minimum wage doing maintenance. He also gets room and board. She tells him he is now part of the “Family.” He likes this because he was brought up in foster homes. In one part Max wasn’t able to do something and thinks he might leave, but Cleo says it’s ok if you don’t succeed when you are part of the “Family.” (By the way, Max is wealthy and recently worked as a corporate executive. But Cleo doesn’t know that.) When talking to a bad guy Cleo says “you’re a product of a dysfunctional family.”
Someone is threatening Cleo. Max hires O’Reilly a PI to investigate. As soon as O’Reilly arrives, he and one of the women have an instant attraction. He is now also part of the “Family” and will walk a young woman down the aisle at her coming wedding. Max and Cleo had an instant attraction with a marriage proposal that was too soon for me. Their relationship needed more time. It felt thrown in.
This was mostly people puttering around the Inn, interacting, and getting along with each other. That was pleasant and kept my interest. But I’m marking this down because the suspense parts of the book were weak. There are three mysteries/subplots: 1. Where are the paintings that are supposed to be in Cleo’s possession that she knows nothing about? 2. Who is threatening Cleo? 3. Max used to work for a large hotel chain. They want Max to come back to his old job. Things get resolved at the end but not in new or different ways. It’s like the author just ended things the way she always does.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR Richard Ferrone:
I did not like his emotional interpretations for both the hero and heroine - like he made someone sound whiny or like a little girl. He was not sexy doing Max. He overacted when doing the villain art dealer Spark. He had an awful voice for Sammy the little boy. At times I heard his breaths which were annoying.
This author is hit and miss with me. I liked her following books. All Night Long, Trust Me, Running Hot, Deep Waters, Sizzle and Burn, Twist of Fate.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance with some suspense.
This was one of my favorite JAKs and the narrator ruined it. Why do they pick a narrator with such an old-sounding voice for a contemporary romance? Ferrone may be great for non-fiction, but definitely NOT for a lighthearted romance.
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