Jayne Ann Krentz has just provided more fuel to the discussion about alpha heroes. Jasper Sloan, the hero of Flash is in some ways a typical alpha – a leader, more interested in business than in pleasure. At the same time, he’s a devoted family man. And when Olivia Chantry comes along, he learns to mix business with pleasure. Sure, it’s a formula, but few people do this formula better than Jayne Ann Krentz. In this case, though, I wish she’d spent more time examining the physical side of the relationship.
Olivia Chantry and Jasper Sloan find themselves part owners of her uncle’s firm. Jasper owns the majority, and he plans to take control of the growing firm rather than selling out. At first, they start out on the wrong foot, distrusting each other. She fears he’ll start firing people, and he’s afraid the company will collapse without strong leadership. His leadership.
When a blackmailer threatens the company, everything changes. This blackmailer unearths long-buried secrets. Olivia and Jasper must learn to trust each other so they can put a stop to this. They are surrounded by quirky, creative people. Does one of these charming people have a hidden agenda? There are lots of suspects, but the real blackmailer was not obvious. That’s a rarity for romantic suspense novels. I suspected everybody at one time or another.
At first glance, Olivia Chantry and Jasper Sloan are opposites. She’s disorganized and creative, and he’s a CEO with a passion for filing cabinets. Yet they are more similar than they might want to admit. Both are good at business, and devoted to protecting their loved ones. From the moment he meets her, Jasper Sloan knows she’s not the predatory woman portrayed in the media. She’s smart and capable, and he’s not afraid of that.
This couple is great together. Yet I felt as though I was missing out on an important part of their relationship. There’s plenty of sexual tension, but hardly any sex – only one love scene. To make matters worse, Olivia and Jasper take too long to discuss their feelings. That should be an important part of a romance.
Still, the suspense kept me reading. Every chapter spurs the plot forward. JAK is a master at writing chapter endings that compel you to keep reading. At the very beginning, both Jasper and Olivia destroy incriminating documents. The reader knows those secrets are going to come back to haunt them. Part of the suspense is finding out when this will happen.
The background added to the novel. Olivia runs an event production company that creates flashy spectacles for charity benefits and promotions. This provides much of the humor. Olivia believes in giving the customers what they want, even if the customer wants something tacky. She works hard to create events that are flashy yet tasteful.
One warning. If you don’t like coffee, reading this book might make you uncomfortable. Olivia drinks more coffee than any heroine I’ve met in a long while.
Should you buy this in hardback? If you like JAK, you already know what you’re getting into. I don’t like the idea of spending $24 on a “comfort read.” Yet I’d rather spend the money on a book like this than on a bestseller about sleazy Hollywood types. This was much more fun, and better written.