Her Kind of Trouble
Evelyn Vaughn’s Grailkeepers series continues in Her Kind of Trouble. This is another thrilling, action-packed ride that proves Vaughn is one author who really “gets” what a Silhouette Bombshell book should be.
Maggi Sanger is on a mission to locate long-missing grails, cups with magical properties that were made centuries ago to contain the powers of goddesses. As a Grailkeeper, it is Maggi’s family legacy to protect the grails from those who seek to destroy them. When she receives information about an archaeological excavation that could lead to the Isis Grail, she races to Egypt. She’s barely off the plane before she finds herself threatened by a sword-wielding attacker who tells her to get out of Egypt. Then she arrives at the underwater site of Isis’s ancient temple, only to discover an old nemesis waiting for her. Catrina Dauvergne previously stole the Melusine Grail from Maggi. Now the Frenchwoman is bound and determined to keep the Isis Grail out of her hands as well.
Maggi turns to an Egyptian woman for information on the Isis Grail, only to learn the woman wants her to do something in return before she hands over the info. Dr. Tala Rachid’s stepson – who happens to be Maggi’s sword-wielding attacker – recently kidnapped his daughter from his English ex-wife, who had custody of the girl, and brought her to Egypt. The local officials have been no help whatsoever, since local law states a father has absolute control over his child there. In exchange for information on the grail, Tala and her former daughter-in-law want Maggi to help them smuggle the girl back to safety.
As if that’s not enough, Maggi still has to deal with her relationship with the enigmatic Lex Stuart. She loves him, but is still wary about trusting him, since he’s involved with an ancient organization that may be responsible for trying to destroy the grails in the first place. With adversaries at every turn and a lover she can’t entirely trust, Maggi has a lot on her plate. Fortunately, she’s woman enough to rise to the occasion.
As the second book in the series, it doesn’t stand on its own, and I’m not sure it would work for anyone who hasn’t read the first one, A.K.A. Goddess (which earned DIK status from me earlier this year). It picks up not long after that book, continuing the storyline and the characters in a way that flows directly out of the events of the earlier book. Vaughn offers the kind of fleeting exposition intended to remind readers what happened prior to this story, and even as someone who had read that book, I still felt like I was playing catch-up, trying to remember everything. I can’t imagine newcomers fully comprehending all of the exposition or understanding its importance. A.K.A. Goddess probably should be read first for maximum enjoyment of this one.
Her Kind of Trouble isn’t quite as good as A.K.A. Goddess. It’s not as tightly written and the plot seems a little more sprawling and uneven. There were occasional moments in some of the action sequences I thought could have been written with a bit more clarity so it was easier to understand what was happening. But as with the first book, this is another hugely entertaining read packed with nonstop action and excitement. It’s a creative tale that makes good use of Egyptian legends to create a fascinating story around these modern-day characters.
Maggi is a great heroine, a smart, tough and resilient woman more than capable of fending for herself. Once again, Vaughn writes a story where Maggi saves the day on her own with her wits and her strength. She’s very human without being weak. I liked how this story had strongly feminist themes without being manhating. And once again told in first person, the narrative contains nice moments of wry humor in Maggi’s distinctive voice.
Like the first book, this one only got better as it went along. The story picks up such momentum over the course of the book that I soon forgot my quibbles about some of the plotting and became completely sucked in to this tale. Also again, this isn’t strictly a romance (the Bombshell line is series fiction rather than series romance), but the love story has some very effective moments, more than many straight romances provide. Maggi and Lex’s relationship continues to grow from where we last left them. This includes a love scene that is unique and very interesting. It’s also not just sex for sex’s sake, but plays a role in the plot. The story builds to a compelling dramatic climax with a great showdown scene and a satisfying conclusion that leaves the door open for more adventures for these characters.
Her Kind of Trouble is a good old-fashioned pageturner. I thought some elements of the writing could have been stronger, but that’s almost beside the point. This is one of those books where it’s all about the story, about being swept up in grand adventure and exotic places. It’s pure fun from start to finish.