Sex and drugs and – Tristan und Isolde? That’s what Nancy Warren offers in Breathless, her October release from Blaze about a woman who wanders into danger and the cop who’s there to save her.
Cursed with no sense of direction, bank employee Sophie Morton takes a wrong turn on her way to work and ends up in a seedy Vancouver neighborhood where she witnesses what she thinks is an attempted assault on a woman. Sophie races to attack the woman’s assailant and breaks the guy’s leg in the process, but it turns out that he’s an undercover cop, and the female gang member he was on the point of arresting has just taken off – in Sophie’s car.
Blake Barker has been trying to bring down this particular gang for a long time, and he was on the verge of making a key bust when an interfering – and very attractive – female ruined it for him. But then trouble at her bank coincides with his drug-smuggling and money-laundering investigation, and Sophie and Blake end up seeing a whole lot more of each other than either of them had planned.
Sophie and Blake are fairly well drawn characters, and for the most part I liked them. I got the feeling that the author actually knows about working in a bank, so Sophie’s workplace was more than just bland background where stuff happens. As for Sophie, she suffers from panic attacks as a result of getting lost, which happens more than once, and she works hard to overcome her terror. Blake is your basic Romance Central Casting cop, rough, sex always on his mind – with the one exception of his love of classical music, which gave him a little more depth than one usually sees in a category romance.
Since this is a Blaze book, I knew going in that there was going to be an emphasis on sexuality, and in that regard the book delivers, maybe just a bit too much. Sophie decides early on that while she’ll be intimate with Blake, as long as it doesn’t happen in a bedroom, it doesn’t count as “real sex.” Whatever. So we’re treated to Sophie and Blake engaged in some very heavy petting in a closet, Sophie and Blake having sex on a couch, and up against a refrigerator, Sophie teasing Blake with a little self-arousal, and finally, the two of them going at it in a very public place. Now, that last one I don’t consider at all romantic myself and found it too over-the-top, but it might work for all you exhibitionists out there.
The plot moves along at a pretty good pace – in fact, the ending seems a little rushed. There are an awful lot of “just-so-happens” coincidences, too, such as it just so happens that Blake’s investigation and a one-sided conversation Sophie overhears are connected, and it just so happens that Blake has enough of a background in finance to go undercover at the bank, and it just so happens that they both love opera, and on and on (wonder what would’ve happened if Blake had been a fan of country and western, or hip hop?). But after a point I just started going with the flow of things, and it didn’t bother me too much.
There’s a relatively high level of violence, aside from Sophie breaking Blake’s leg at the outset. Somebody gets killed, an apartment is bombed, and a car almost runs over one of the protagonists, not to mention that at the very end Sophie gets – oh, wait, that’s spoiler territory and I won’t ruin it for you.
So, if you’re in the mood for some suspense mixed in with a great big dash of sexual content, you could do worse than try this book. While it might not leave you breathless, it’s a pleasant way to pass a few hours.