All The Man I Need
In Tamara Sneed’s All The Man I Need, a physically-scarred man finds his match in an emotionally-scarred woman. It is a quick-moving romantic suspense novel that takes the reader on fun ride.
Lana Hargrove owns her public relations firm and she has spent her life recreating her past and denying her connections to her father, a notorious art thief who abandoned her after her mother’s death. She has just about everything she wants: a successful business, a nice home, and a man she may marry – though not for love. She wants to marry for the position her fiance can give her in society; with a new last name, she can wipe out any connection to her father for good. Her plans are going along smoothly until Justin Larkin starts following her.
Justin is following Lana in order to track down her father. Justin is a private detective hired by an art gallery to find a stolen artifact. He is living a double life and has befriended Lana’s father in order to help recover the stolen object. When her dad goes missing he finds Lana, knowing that eventually he will show up to protect her from the men who are out to get him.
Justin and Lana’s interactions begin explosively when she knocks him on his butt in an ally and tells him to leave her alone. Justin tries to explain he is there to protect her from her father’s enemies, but she wants nothing to do with a friend of her father’s even if he was sent to protect her. She laughs at the possible danger and tries to ignore Justin, hoping he will go away. But Lana must eventually come out of her cloud of denial when the bad guys do come after her.
The couple then does what’s typical in romantic suspense: go into hiding where they discover they can no longer control their lust for one another. In these scenes we find out more about Justin’s brooding, lonely character. Lana is revealed to be more than just your average social climber; she is a woman trying to outrun the past of a father who never loved her. They start to fall hard for one another, though Justin does not tell her about his double life. All is moving along well until her father shows up, forcing Justin his reveal his true mission.
This book has lots of things working in its favor. The romance between Justin and Lana is very believable, even with all the lies. Their attraction for each other is intense and the love scenes sizzle. The suspense plot even works until near the end when it got a bit campy and predictable. This is primarily where all my problems within the book lie. The bad guy is just another cookie cutter type “evil man” with an axe to grind. The final scene when the big mystery is resolved happens too fast and you can see the it coming before the first paragraph in that scene is even finished.
These problems aside, I still enjoyed the book. Justin and Lana’s characters were interesting enough that I didn’t mind being dragged along from scene to scene as they ran from the bad guys. So if you’re looking for a story that has a strong romance and a not-so-strong suspense plot, I think you would enjoy All The Man I Need.