Share the Darkness
Share the Darkness caught my eye in March while browsing through Harlequin’s website. It has a great cover, something Blaze has been offering up more of lately, but it was the plot caused me to pick it up when it was released. Sadly, Jill Monroe’s second novel didn’t work nearly as well as I had hoped.
Hannah Garrett is a woman who feels safest in the dark. When the lights go out and she gets caught in an elevator with Ward Coleman, the darkness brings her a sense of peace and allows her to let her hair down. It’s been quite a while since Hannah felt at ease with anyone, much less a man. Alas, they are rescued just as the things get interesting.
Of course Ward isn’t really Ward Coleman, but undercover FBI agent Ward Cassidy. He’s acting as security chief at the firm Hannah works for to discover a thief. This is all rather vague and really just an excuse to bring the hero and heroine together. It takes back seat to the real conflict in the book.
Hannah Garrett isn’t really Hannah Garrett – she’s a woman on the run in the Witness Protection Program. Ward doesn’t know about Hannah, and her perfect resume, odd dress for a heatwave, and “I want to be left alone” personality – coupled with her job as a computer programmer – puts her at the top of his suspect list. Well, and he thinks she’s hot.
This great set up was made even better by a prison break about to make their already confusing lives even more difficult. Between that and my love for “caught in the elevator” stories, I started the book expecting a good time.
The first problem is Share the Darkness focuses too much on the characters’ thoughts. Another is that we are told more than we see, with a marked lack of conversation. And to make it worse, the characters seem to change from one minute to the next. On one page Hannah decides sex is out of the question, then in the very next paragraph she tries to seduce Ward. As for Ward, he tells himself their relationship is short-term, going nowhere, and that’s how he wants it – then he whines to Hannah that she is using him for sex and why won’t she spend the night in his bed? I found myself going back and re-read pages over and over trying to figure out what I missed.
Since we are speaking of sex, I don’t expect a book to be all hot all the time and as long as the door doesn’t shut in my face, I can be a happy reader. But I expect Blaze to be, as they say on the back of the books, a “Red-hot read”. This isn’t, so the book, maybe unfairly, suffers from that expectation. Also annoying is the amount of repetition of thought, action, and even word usage, but even worse were those moments my mind wandered while reading. I got stuck on points like: “Why is she walking around a safe house in only her robe with three men she doesn’t know?”; “How can she sleep in the nude when there is a man on the loose, who could find her at any moment and try and kill her?”; “Why do US Marshals care if they upset the FBI agent, shouldn’t the life of their witness should be more important?”; and “They forgot to shut the door!”.
So in the end a book I was excited to read took over a week to finish. By the time I got to the end, I really didn’t care how it ended and I was tired from over-thinking things. There really is a good story buried in all this muck, so I do plan to check out her next novel. Part of the problem may be possible experimentation on the part of Harlequin now that the Temptations line is no more and Blaze expanded from four to six releases a month, but whatever the underlying cause, Share the Darkness disappointed me. Jill Monroe might have given us a great read, but she didn’t.