Isn’t it a pleasure to discover a new author whose voice really resonates for you?
That’s exactly the reaction I had last year when I stumbled upon My Hero, Marianna Jameson’s debut novel, and I’m delighted to say I liked her second even better. Her voice is smart, breezy, and fun and, even better, she offers up a decidedly swoon-worthy hero and a formidably intelligent and likable heroine, though I did have some major problems with her character. Add in the great plot – one that somehow manages to make some pretty heavy duty geek stuff seem satisfyingly suspenseful – and you have an altogether delightful contemporary romance deserving of a wide readership.
As the temporary second-in-command and chief IT officer of his family’s multi-million dollar shipping company and defense contractor, Joe Casey has reason to be concerned about possible security breeches in the family business. Believing that the best way to make certain there are no vulnerabilities is to hire an outside firm to conduct a security audit, Joe takes the plunge and brings on board a well known DC-based firm to attempt to successfully hack his company – in other words, to identify and correct any security failures. The executive put in charge of the operation is former hacker extraordinaire Naomi Connor.
Naomi is more than eager to take on the assignment. It seems that some twenty years earlier, the adolescent hacker did serious damage to Joe’s family company. Anxious to atone for her sins – even if she must do it anonymously since Joe is unaware of her connection to his past – Naomi is determined to find any weaknesses in the company’s security systems.
What I liked especially well here is the chemistry between Joe and Naomi. As a DC resident I normally stay miles away from books taking place in my city since I’m hyper sensitive to any errors. Not to worry here. Joe is a gen-u-ine DC lawyer-type (and, boy, let me tell you this stereotype is real) temporarily assisting his family, but whose heart really belongs to truth, justice, and the American way. He’s also a died-in-the wool gentleman, something you find all too rarely in contemporary romance novels these days, and I absolutely loved it. And him.
As for Naomi, I liked her. Really I did. But, sadly, Naomi is one of those “unfortunate” heroines “cursed” with great beauty and spectacular breasts. (I hate it when that happens.) Even worse, I kept wondering why such a smart, focused woman would keep hobbling herself with tight skirts and high heels – something that turns up as a big problem for her on more than one occasion. Naomi, like all those “cursed” heroines before her, attempts to deal with her “problem” by hiding her assets behind professional armor. Unfortunately, “serious” DC business attire is more along the Brooks Brothers and Ferragamo lines (no Manolos or Jimmy Choos!), making those short skirts and high heels exactly the wrong choice for someone attempting to conceal her body or dressing to be taken seriously.
So, if I was less than completely taken with Naomi, Joe and the terrific storyline more than made up for it. Though I’d like to see the author tackle a more realistic heroine next time (as she did in her last book), I don’t hesitiate to enthusiastically recommend both the author and this book. If you enjoy smart and sophisticated contemporary romances with a hint of suspense and haven’t yet tried Marianna Jameson, I hope you’ll be tempted. With only two books under her belt – both of them very good ones – she’s definitely an author to watch.