While I was working at a calendar kiosk at the mall, I took along a copy of Romantic Times to peruse on my break and see what was coming along for January. They gave this book 4 1/2 stars and its hero a WISH award. Maybe I had my expectations set too high, but I was quite underwhelmed by the hero Damien Perry. While the book as a whole was slightly better than average when it came to suspense, the romance was very, very average.
Molly Jensen is the sister of Ford Devereaux, the sometimes partner and friend of FBI agent Damien Perry. Molly came with Ford to see Damien in the hospital several years ago when he had been shot in the line of duty. Damien has not forgotten Molly who is a tall and strikingly good-looking woman. So when he gets a letter from her asking for help, he comes to see what is happening.
Molly had married Jack Jensen, who came from a wealthy and prominent family. The honeymoon was not even over before he began to threaten and then hit her. Jack refused to believe their daughter Sydney was his and finally he beat her so badly that she was hospitalized and he went to jail. When Jack was released, he began a campaign of harrassment, designed to terrorize Molly, but he is so clever about it she can’t find any evidence that points to him and the law can’t touch him. Molly does not want to involve her brother in this, and Damien is the only man she knows who might help her. Damien is angered and touched by Molly’s plight and agrees to pose as her live-in lover to attract Jack’s jealousy and make him do something so they can bring him to the attention of the police.
Molly takes pains to protect her mother and Sydney but Jack proves to be fiendishly clever and kidnaps the child. Since I hate with a passion any plot that puts a child in danger, I was squirming during this part even though I knew it would be all right in the end. At last after many twists and turns, the book comes to a satisfying conclusion.
If you are looking for an exciting plot, Live-In Lover has it in spades. Jack is clever enough to be truly dangerous and devious enough to avoid leaving evidence that would link him to the plots he devises against Molly. Damien has enough tricks up his own sleeve to be a formidable adversary and his cleverness and willingness to play a bit fast and loose with the rules makes him the one man who can bring down Jack Jensen.
The problem I had with this book was with the romance – it was only tepid at best. Damien was so inner-directed, and such a lone wolf that I did not get much of a sense of connection between him and Molly. Loner heroes who bond with the heroine are some of my favorite characters and some authors can do a marvelous job with them – try Justine Davis and see what I mean. The attraction between Molly and Damien in this book barely sparked a few embers; it never caught fire and burned.
Still, Live-In Lover had a very exciting plot with lots of suspense. If you are looking for a romantic suspense, but don’t have the time for a full-length one, this book will fill the bill quite nicely.