Like many, when reading a very well written and exciting book, I tend to read it all in one sitting, finishing and finding myself a little saddened that it has come to an end. This was precisely my experience with Lisa Marie Rice’s Dangerous Lover, her first book mainstream print novel, leaving me craving for more… much, much more.
Jack Prescott has returned to Summerville, Washington for one reason alone: to take back his sole reason for living – Caroline Lake. Through most of Jack’s young life (he was then known as Ben), he and his alcoholic father drifted from shelter to shelter until settling in Summerville. Caroline and her family volunteered at the shelter and she left such an amazing impression on Jack that he fell head over heels for her. When Jack was 18, his father died and he ran away, eventually finding a mentor in Colonel Prescott. Jack was an Army Ranger for a decade, but after the Colonel died and left him millions, he made his way back to Summerville to be with the only woman he has ever loved. In addition to carrying millions in cash, he also possesses some high-priced diamonds from his last mission.
Caroline is what you would call a poor little rich girl. She was born into a life of privilege but that all ended when her parents and brother Toby were in a car accident. Caroline’s parents died instantly; her little brother survived, but was paralyzed and for the past six years she has used all the resources available to her in order to care for Toby and to keep their precious home in semi-working condition. Toby has now died and this is the first Christmas Caroline will be all alone. She is in dire straits, for she has no money and the upkeep on her home has become too much to handle. But, everything changes when a scruffy, intimidating stranger comes to her looking for a place to stay. Because Caroline needs the money badly, she welcomes him into her home, not recognizing Jack from their short acquaintance as teens. But, as she comes to know him now, she feels he is a kindred spirit, even though she is made uncomfortable by the way he stares at her, as if he wants to eat her alive.
Both are snowed in together due to a raging storm. Caroline tries to make the best of the situation, but memories of her parents and Toby intrude. She turns to Jack for comfort – his dream come true. For the next few days they engage in such sexual and meaningful lovemaking, that it can only be compared to two souls merging. Even though Jack is less than forthcoming about his past, Caroline lets him help her pick up the pieces of her crumbling heart and home. But as these two begin to fall deeper in love, there is an enemy on the prowl who wants the diamonds in Jack’s possession. All too soon this villain is on Caroline’s doorstep and Jack must decide how much he can tell Caroline and if she can truly trust him with her life.
Lisa Marie Rice has written two phenomenal characters, but Jack is especially endearing. This man is so scarred emotionally that it is heartbreaking. He hardly ever smiles or jokes, but with Caroline he quickly becomes this big teddy bear as she breaks down the emotional walls he constructed around himself. Jack is definitely an alpha male, but not the type who wants to “own” Caroline, but rather would give anything in his power to make her happy. Whenever she blinds him with her smiles or hugs, he feels an intense pain in his chest, which he thinks is heartburn. He really can’t understand what it feels like to be in love, and it was an absolute joy watching him fall harder than he already had for this simple woman.
In the beginning, I did find Caroline a little too good to be true. What woman wears high heels and pearls all the time, even during a snowstorm? But I came to the conclusion that we are seeing Caroline through Jack’s eyes. He sees her as the perfect woman and puts her on a pedestal because she is his guiding light. Caroline is not this perfect embodiment of course, because we do see her worries and her fragile emotions. Jack and Caroline’s bedroom activities were front and center, but are incredibly emotional and way beyond the usual romance love scenes. There was no doubt in my mind that these two were absolute soul mates.
Dangerous Lover packs quite a punch from the overall suspense to the romance that will not disappoint. The feelings reading this book evoked in me will linger for a long time. I have been a fan of Lisa Marie Rice’s past work and her latest only reinforces my belief that she is an author to watch.