Scent of Danger
Carson Brooks, CEO of Ruisseau Fragrance Corporation, has been shot in the back and may need a kidney transplant. Fortunately for him, he’s just told his chief legal counsel and the closest thing he has to a son, Dylan Newport, about the child he may have fathered twenty-eight years earlier.
Dylan is more concerned with Carson’s health and finding a blood relative who’s a potential kidney donor than patience or tact when he tracks down Sabrina Radcliffe and drops the bombshell of her father’s identity. Sabrina of course already knows she’s the product of a sperm donation, but because of her mother’s family’s wealth she has been the target of con men claiming to represent her father before and is wary of Dylan. Yet, he has the facts, the dates, and the records to back up his claim. She won’t agree to offering a kidney up for someone’s she’s never met, but she does agree to meet Carson.
Sabrina gets more than she bargained for when she arrives in New York City. First she gets swept up in the middle of an attempted murder investigation and then Carson ropes her into taking command of his company in his absence. Fortunately she finds a rock of support in Dylan. These two bond over their concern for Carson’s health and running his company, but unfortunately there’s a murderer out there who sees them as an obstacle to be removed.
Before I start in with my list of quibbles with this book, and there are quite a few, let me say I liked it, I liked it a lot. Kane is an author I discovered a few years ago through a short story in the anthology A Gift of Love, which led to a prompt glom of several of her historicals. I’m always a little leery when an author switches from historical to contemporaries, but Kane has a real knack for writing intriguing, page turning contemporaries – as long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief to a great extent and go along for the ride. This book epitomizes her strengths with its likable hero and heroine who work together to solve the external subplot all the while falling in love. Unfortunately there were also several plot points that had me going “no way, that couldn’t happen.”
First off the ease with which Sabrina seemed to accept Carson as her father and willingness to make him a part of her life seemed unrealistic. Yes, Sabrina is presented as a very warm and understanding person when it comes to family, but there seems to be only a moment of shock and wariness, and then wham – total acceptance. There is so much emotional upheaval going on in this book that I just couldn’t buy how quickly she accepted him. Next is the way Sabrina took over running her father’s company. I could buy her running her own management consulting firm at the tender age of 27, but taking over a perfume company when she knows nothing about perfume and chemistry (very important since Carson is the only person who knows the formula for Ruisseau’s signature fragrance C’est Moi and gives it to Sabrina verbally to memorize so manufacturing can continue) seemed ludicrous. Nor did it seem reasonable for a man whose life is in danger to trust his company to a virtual stranger, despite the fact that she’s his long lost daughter. The reason these issues stand out so much for me, is that there is a obviously a lot of research here and attention to detail, which makes the implausibility of some of it that much more jarring. My other major quibble is when Kane starts discussing the details of the potential kidney transplant she gets very technical and it’s more a lecture to the reader than part of the story.
On the plus side there’s a very good mystery here in addition to the strong lead characters and their romance. Each character’s secret and possible motivation for shooting Carson is revealed in such a way that you realize the world he lived in was a precarious balancing act of lies and evasion. The killer’s real motivation is a nice twist and makes the reason the cops couldn’t catch him very plausible.
The characters are the real strength of the story. They make the unbelievable passable. Sabrina is so confident and secure in her abilities that the fact she’s running two companies, getting to know her father, and falling love for the first time seems status quo for her life. Dylan is dependable and solid and good back up for Sabrina. His total devotion to Carson is evident and you realize why Carson would trust him with his life. These two are quite compatible and their HEA is very easy to buy. The supporting cast is also very well fleshed out and helps to weave a tight and intriguing plot.
I can easily recommend Scent of Danger if you’re looking for fast-paced romantic suspense with likeable characters. Just be prepared to over look some of those little details and focus on Sabrina and Dylan instead.