His Only Obsession
I’ve followed Beverly Barton’s The Protectors series from the beginning. This book, the 24th in the series, features the men and women who work with the Dundee Agency, a private investigation/bodyguard organization. The last book in the series, Penny Sue Got Lucky was charming and one of my favorite series romances for 2006. His Only Obsession is…well it’s an opposites attract romance that’s set on a lost island. It reminded me of Brigadoon, had it been a B-movie.
Professor Emery Arnell was lost at sea as a young man and cast up on an unknown island where he was rescued by the kind natives. The inhabitants of the mysterious island all live to a ripe and healthy two hundred years, thanks to a plant which preserves health and lengthens life. Naturally Emery wants to stay, but at the end of two weeks the natives set him adrift in a boat and he is picked up by a rescue ship. The island has disappeared and everyone thinks Emery is nuts. Fifty years go by, during which he continually tries to get back to the island, but neither he nor anyone else can find it. Emery’s obsession costs him his marriage, and almost every cent he owns. As the book begins, he’s back in Mexico planning to go out and look for the island yet again. His daughter Gwen has come to look for him since she is worried to death about him.
Meanwhile, Dundee agent Will Pierce is in Mexico to look for the spoiled daughter of a rich man. Seems as though Miss Princess left with a couple of guys after a party, stayed out all night, and never returned to her hotel room. Will thinks she just crashed at someone’s home, and begins to trace her tracks. Will and Gwen cross paths early on when they both find out the girl left in the company of several people, including an old man whom the rest called The Professor. They combine their search and head out in a boat chasing another boat containing Emery, the rich man’s daughter, and several other people. Both boats head into the Bermuda triangle, and when a storm comes up, all of them are cast up on an island that’s not on the map – and the island is just where Emery said it was when he was there fifty years ago.
The character’s adventures on the island were, well, they were kind of silly. They find the plant that will give long life and perfect health, and also discover the reason Emery never could find the island – it’s only visible for about one month every fifty years. While the villagers are friendly enough, they don’t want any of their plants to be taken off the island, but Emery is obsessed and cuts some of them. Somehow the theft is communicated to the high priest of the island, who takes several people captive, then prepares for a spot of human sacrifice. I couldn’t help but think of some of the scenes from old B-movies and Tarzan flicks that I used to watch on television when I was a kid. Even though the high priest was a man, in my mind he sounded like Maria Ouyspenskaya, who always played the high priestess in those movies.
Will and Gwen are an opposites attract couple. She is a scientist and he is a high school graduate. She likes plain white cotton and he likes red lace. She’s an only child and he is from a boistrous family. They fall in love while chasing her father and running from the bad guys and live happily ever after. Naturally.
If you like romantic suspense very very lite, if you like paranormal very very lite, or if you’re nostalgic for B-movies, you might like this book. But if you’d like to read one of The Protector’s series at its best, try Penny Sue Got Lucky or Jack’s Christmas Mission – or the one that got me hooked on the series, Gabriel Hawk’s Lady. His Only Obsession was just a bit too odd for me to really enjoy it, but I give Beverly Barton props for trying something different.