More Than You Know
Helen R. Myers has written over thirty novels, not one of which I have read. Until now. Hmm. Where have I been all this time? Her previous works were mostly series romances, but she has apparently begun moving into the full-length romantic suspense sub-genre. I graded this book a B, but there were parts that flirted with an A. The sensuality ended up Warm, but I’d have to say, in places, it almost sizzled into Hot (I did have my fingers crossed). More Than You Know is more for your money – romance, mystery, suspense, poignancy, complex characters, a fully-realized plot, top-notch writing – a real page-turner, and a bittersweet love story.
Nicole Loring is a beautiful, self-reliant art dealer whose only emotional stability comes from her relationship with her brother, Jay. After an apartment fire leaves her temporarily homeless, she crashes on Jay’s couch, and is both embarassed and angered at the sounds of her brother apparently engaged in close encounters of the sexual kind behind the closed door of his bedroom. Exhausted Nicole falls into a deep sleep, and when she awakens, Jay’s bedroom guest has gone. Faced with only silence when she taps on his door, she enters Jay’s room to discover disaster and heartbreak.
Ruggedly good-looking Dallas cop Roman McKenna works part-time as a security officer for Nicole’s boss, but now that Roman’s been promoted to homicide detective, he probably won’t be seeing as much of the elusive Nicole as he’d like. But when Nicole’s brother commits suicide (or was he murdered?), and Nicole becomes the target of a stalker, Roman places himself squarely between her and danger. When she is injured by an assailant (or did he just want to talk to her … warn her?) who is later found murdered, Roman places himself squarely between her, uh, sheets.
At first, only Nicole believes Jay was murdered. But little by little, it becomes apparent that Jay had no reason to take his own life. Indeed, he’d just found out he was a father and had taken possession of his infant son the night he had died. So, where’s the baby? As Roman and Nicole delve deeper into the mystery, they are confronted by several unpleasantries – a slimy senior detective who seems to be inordinately preoccupied with Nicole’s case, and with whom Roman immediately forms an adversarial relationship, and the fact that Jay may not have been the clean-cut, golden-boy his sister thought him to be.
Ms. Myers has done much research into police procedures, “copspeak,” as well as the uncomfortable topic of AEA (autoerotic asphyxia), and it shows. If you’re timid about street-language or the darker side of “personal sex,” you won’t find this a light-hearted read, and may want to avoid More Than You Know. I wasn’t sure how graphic one particular scene was going to get, but, to Ms. Myers’ credit, she kept the gory details to a minimum (although it was pretty rough on Nicole, and she had already been put through the ringer in this book). This is supposed to be a romance novel, after all – not a “true crime” exposé (which I have no interest in reading), so I was glad things didn’t go any deeper.
So, why didn’t this book make the A-list? A couple of reasons. I thought Jay’s story left a few loose-ends dangling, and the distasteful way in which he met his end did put me off. And, anytime a major character in a book takes a blow to the head on more than one occasion, I begin to feel it’s gratuitous (the human skull can only endure so much before brain damage occurs). But the main reason for my reservation is that, because the author did such a good job creating Nicole and Roman, parts of the book were just too hard to read. These people hurt, and I felt it. Both Nicole and Roman are emotional victims, and the cross Roman had to bear was almost too much for me to take. These two people are in pain and are not certain where their attraction will, or should, lead them. When Roman’s trials are finally played out, it’s devasting for him and for the reader. Roman’s a good man and a wonderful hero and we know that only in Nicole’s arms can he finally find the peace he deserves. Yes, Roman and Nicole are perfect for each other – but the unrelenting sorrow that permeated their relationship was more than I thought this couple deserved.
Having said all that, having given you my caveats and reservations, I do indeed recommend this book. It’s positives far outweigh my reservations. Go for it.