Beyond a Shadow
Despite the author’s strong writing ability and a believable attraction between the two lead characters, ultimately this novel doesn’t provide a memorable romance.
In the small town of Comfort Bay, Oregon, Ezra Moore and Alexa Counsel are the two people who don’t belong. While on the surface Alexa seems recovered from her divorce, teaching, and hanging with several good friends, deep down she’s not satisfied with her life.
Ezra, on the other hand, is a newcomer from the Caribbean whom no one knows and no one trusts. When they meet, Alexa is both startled at the immediate attraction she feels and alarmed at the sense of danger that hovers around him. In fact, though he is working as a handyman, Ezra is one of the deadly undercover agents of SG-5. He’s ready to make his move against an international criminal organization and he’s willing to use Alexa as his cover to help him to get to it.
Ezra, however, doesn’t expect his own real attraction to Alexa, and their relationship quickly turns into more than a fling, disrupting both their plans.
What results are some smoking hot love scenes, but few other moments were as satisfying. Unfortunately, Ezra is too much of the secret agent – too enigmatic and a bit too out of reach for me to care for him. He is so cold and manipulative, with one action especially making me cringe, that it makes the development of his relationship with Alexa uncomfortable as opposed to enjoyable. The glimpses we’re given of his past aren’t enough for the reader to really empathize with him and understand why Alexa falls for him, or why he falls for her.
True, along the way Alexa causes a few cracks in his emotional armor, but for the most part, he is too icy and unreachable. It doesn’t help that there is some deception on her part as well, meaning that the only genuine thing these two share is their mutual attraction. For me, lust + deception does not equal a happy, lasting relationship.
Whereas Ezra is too distant, Alexa is merely bland, and she pretty much exists to either make love with Ezra or be rescued by him. The suspense plot, revolving around Ezra’s mission to convict the organization’s ringleader, is decent, but it’s not quite compelling enough to take my mind off the other problems. And finally, the way in which the relationship and suspense is solved seemed a little too Hollywood for me.
I like Kent’s writing style, and she certainly delivered some deliciously hot love scenes. But just as nothing ever really seemed to leave a mark on Ezra, this book didn’t leave any lasting effects on me either.