I'm No Angel
Patti Berg’s I’m No Angel is exactly the kind of book that’s made for summer. Light and frothy, it’s exactly what most readers think of when they’re looking to while away a lazy afternoon.
P.I. Angel Devlin is at the top of her game, so when someone driving a Jeep tries to follow her, she has no trouble spotting him. She just doesn’t expect him to follow her into one of Palm Beach’s hottest clubs, or to turn out to be one incredibly hot guy.
Tom Donovan has his reasons for trying to get close to Angel. Three decades earlier, his father was an infamous thief who preyed on Palm Beach’s elite. Everyone believed the elder Donovan was reformed after he married Tom’s mother. Then he was killed by his best friend Holt Hudson, who claimed Tom’s father broke into his home and attacked his wife. Left parentless, Tom was sent to the Everglades to live with his grandfather. Now he’s back, and he wants answers from the reclusive Holt Hudson. When he sees Angel leaving Hudson’s estate, he figures she might be the key to getting him in to meet the man.
Angel’s mother has Alzheimer’s, and Hudson has agreed to open his home for a benefit for the disease. Angel has no intention of betraying his trust by allowing Tom in to see him. Besides, she isn’t convinced that Tom’s father wasn’t guilty of the crime Hudson accused him of. Resisting Tom, though, is easier said than done. He’s like no one she’s ever known, a man who doesn’t care one bit what people think of him, which makes him stand out in status-conscious Palm Beach.
This is a light contemporary romance notable for its quirky characters and breezy tone. Tom’s unique background makes him an intriguing hero. The son of a thief and a pianist, he grew up in the Everglades, wrestling alligators and living a rough-and-tumble life. On the other hand, he also inherited his mother’s musical skill and plays the piano like a pro. He only recently learned the truth about his father, when his maternal grandparents died, leaving him an inheritance in the multi-millions. He’s a well-developed and nicely complex character. Angel is a mostly strong heroine with interesting shades to her character as well. The characters have a reasonable amount of chemistry and the story moves at an easy pace. The truth about the death of Tom’s father is also unexpected, which was nice.
It’s a fun story, though not much more than that. Despite some of the more serious touches (Alzheimer’s, the murders), the book never becomes heavy in the least. It takes place in the high-gloss, low-substance world of Palm Beach society, and the book fits the setting perfectly. It’s very frothy and light, a little too easy in places. For instance, after they have sex, there’s an argument between the two and Angel stomps off in a huff. About a chapter later, Tom does something nice and all is forgiven as if it never happened. It’s that kind of book. It’s not very deep, it’s not very substantive, but it has a kind of effervescent, fizzy charm.
I’m No Angel is still a fun read that should entertain anyone looking for light summer fare. The heroine is sassy, the hero is intriguing, and the story moves quickly. If all you’re looking for is a breezy read for a lazy summer afternoon, this may be the book for you.