An Unforgettable Lady
When it comes to romantic suspense, An Unforgettable Lady featured nice but bland characters and very tepid suspense. My pulse didn’t race at all.
John Smith owns the Black Watch security service and while protecting an ambassador at a function he spies The Countess Von Sharone. She is exquisitely beautiful and much to good for the likes of him. But there is heat between them – they both feel it – and he kisses her.
Grace Hall runs the Hall Foundation, a charitable organization founded by her father. When her name shows up in an article found near another society woman who has been killed, she is persuaded to hire a body guard and she hires John Smith of the Black Watch. Much to their surprise, they find they have met before. Grace is also the Countess Von Sharone, but not for much longer since she is in the process of divorcing her leech of a husband. If the attraction between them led to a kiss when they first met, what is it going to do now that they are in each other’s company 24/7? Still, she needs protection and John Smith swears that he is a professional and can stay aloof, but if he did, we’d have no story.
Grace is, well she’s nice. She’s rich and beautiful, lives in a posh apartment and wears Chanel and Manolo, but she hasn’t a trace of snobbery. Although one of the priveleged, she has lots of problems. She doesn’t get along with her haughty mother, one of her employees is trying to undercut her with the board of directors, her husband is dragging his feet about the divorce. And yes, there is the fact that some of her friends are being killed and she is on the list.
John Smith is such a loner it’s a wonder he can stand himself. After a horrible childhood he joined the Army, became a Ranger, then did Black Ops for the government until he finally got out and started his own business. He has no family, no friends, no home, and his name isn’t really John Smith. He’s spent his entire life with no roots at all, and now finds himself powerfully drawn to Grace, but she is not like the usual women he has had affairs with in the past. Grace is not a woman to enjoy casual sex and Smith is not a man who understands committment.
The relationship is the source of most of the conflict. The man stalking and murdering society women is kept way in the background and he never seemed too dangerous to me, despite the fact that in the course of the book he kills two women and badly wounds another. When he finally confronts Grace, I wasn’t a bit worried – he simply did not come across as dangerous.
Now as for the relationship, it was more simmering than steamy. Smith was simply too aloof to be believable. I know that the lone wolf, hurt child, bad boy is a staple of romance heroes, but in almost all the books I have read that featured that kind of hero he had some thing or some one who grounded him a bit and made him real. Smith doesn’t – he doesn’t even have a social security number. Too implausible for me. His change from lone wolf to grounded husband is not something I can believe.
An Unforgettable Lady is suspense lite, suspense without real violence or gore, and filled with characters so unreal you could knock over their cardboard cut-outs with a feather. But it’s written well, and quickly paced, and sets up a sequel when a character who turns out to be related to Grace gets introduced literally out of the woodwork. It’s not one I plan to read, but if it’s like its predecessor, it won’t be awful.