No Ordinary Man
Suzanne Simmons surely had it right when she created Mitchell Storm – he’s no ordinary man. But then again, Victoria Storm is no ordinary woman. Neither is her friend, Alice Fraser, and his right hand man, the MacClumpha, a giant Scots who Torey first spies as he moons her society guests for assuming he’s a waiter.
The Storm and The Maculmpha have come from the Isle of Storm to Newport, Rhode Island, to convince Victoria, a distant cousin, to help solve a mystery which will return wealth to the isle, the castle, and the clan. They arrive on the evening of a gala at Victoria’s mansion. Wearing their kilts, they are mistaken for the hired help. But after one look, Torey knows Mitchell’s no ordinary man, but a powerful, important, sexy one. It doesn’t take him long to discover that she’s not an empty-headed spoiled heiress. With his Scottish proclivity for spinning a yarn, he tells her what he’s looking for, and after she bids farewell to her favorite climbing tree, she and Alice are on their way to Scotland to help him solve the mystery. All she asks in return is that he provide her a tree fit for climbing on the isle.
Unfortunately, waiting for them back on the isle are a trio of uninvited guests. There’s Nadine, a seemingly simple but disturbed young woman. Then there are Roger and Sylvia, her stepfather, and her step-stepgrandmother, who are involved in some scarily skanky sex that Nadine likes to watch – one never knows where one will pick up some great tips. Sylvia and Roger are on a husband hunt for Nadine and Mitchell’s the catch of the day.
So not only are Torey and Mitchell out to solve a mystery, but they join forces to convince the unwelcome guests they are engaged, which really isn’t all that difficult since they’re so perfect for one another. The reader won’t have a hard time figuring out why Sylvia and Roger stick around once they realize their scheme won’t work, and it really won’t take a genius to figure out who tries to off Victoria either, but the underlying mystery of the hidden wealth is the real star here.
The cast of characters expands even further, what with Plain Ned, Old Ned, Young Ned, and one other Ned who escapes me just now. And, not only does Mitchell gift Torey with a tree, it’s a medieval tree with secrets that help unlock the mystery.
There’s plenty of wit in No Ordinary Man, and a mystery that involves a Saint and the Knights Templar. The author’s love for things Scottish is revealed through vivid description of the isle, its buildings, and its scenery, the droll intelligence of the good guys, and the atmosphere that pits mystery against grand farce.
The reader is treated to two lead characters who become helpmates immediately and soul mates eventually. There’s good fun, great scenery, and wonderful camaraderie. What seems to be missing for Torey and Mitchell, however, is chemistry. The reader will come to know Torey and Mitchell only superficially. While motivations are revealed, a deep connection isn’t. The reader will learn each is lonely and clever and deserving of happiness, but will never really feel it.
You know that feeling you get in your body, that feeling you should get in your body, when the hero and heroine kiss, when they make love? That tingling feeling that starts in your heart, runs all over you, and you feel it down to your toes? Well. . . nothing. I felt. . . nothing. I enjoyed Torey and Mitchell, I enjoyed their friendship, their friends, their laughter, but I felt none of their lust.
I enjoy Suzanne Simmons’ romances because the hero and heroines get great enjoyment from each other – that much is obvious. In her earlier Bed of Roses, there was great wit, a strong mystery, and wonderful chemistry. In No Ordinary Man, that wonderful chemistry is lacking. The wit and mystery appeal to the mind, but rather little appeals to the heart. It’s a nice evening’s read, but it’ll do nothing to curl your toes.