Take Me Two Times
Grade : C+

Take Me Two Times is the second installment in Karen Kendall’s ARTemis series, about a group of art repossession agents. It was enjoyable enough to make me want to read the first book, but the problems I encountered left me unable to heartily recommend it.

Gwen Davies is a former interior designer who’s just starting her new career as a repossession agent for stolen art, working for ARTemis, Inc. She’s expecting a low-key piece for her first solo assignment, but when ARTemis owner Avy Hunt has to go to Europe unexpectedly, Gwen is handed the plum job of tracking down a valuable Venetian Carnevale mask.

Quinn Lawson is the CEO of Gwen’s client, Jaworski Labs, and he also happens to be Gwen’s ex-husband. Quinn and Gwen were married for 3 months, 15 years ago; divorcing after Gwen split and left Quinn with a Dear John note on the kitchen counter. Quinn, understandably, holds a bit of resentment towards her. He’s also at odds with a high-powered Jaworski board member who doesn’t like the way the young CEO is handling the company.

Gwen does her sleuth work and tracks down the mask almost immediately — and far too easily. She thinks everything is golden until Jaworski Labs has the recovered mask tested, and discovers that it’s a clever fake. Now Gwen’s and ARTemis’s reputations are at stake, and Quinn is being accused of conspiring with his ex-wife to defraud Jaworski Labs. Gwen and Quinn are given two weeks by Jaworski to track down the real mask before legal action is taken.

My feelings about Take Me Two Times are mixed. Probably the biggest problem was that I was far more interested in the secondary plot involving Liam and Avy (the main couple from the previous book) than I was in Gwen and Quinn’s story. The second problem was that while most of the time Gwen was smart and behaved in logical ways — she’s definitely no TSTL heroine — there were occasional moments where she would do or say something that just didn’t make any sense. Given her thought processes the rest of the time, these moments seemed out of character more than anything.

I also felt the ending to the romance portion of the plot was rushed, and wasn’t terribly sold on the HEA. Quinn spends much of the book treating Gwen like she’s a helpless naïf, rather than the highly trained agent she is, so his sudden change near the end wasn’t quite believable. These two also have a lot of issues from their past to work through, and I wasn’t satisfied that they had made enough progress by the conclusion of the story to fully buy into the HEA.

However, overall Take Me Two Times was an enjoyable read. Even though it’s the second entry in a series, it can definitely stand on its own. The mystery portion of the plot was interesting, and had a nice twist at the end. And although at times Gwen acted illogically and Quinn a pompous jerk, on the whole I liked both characters. I especially appreciated that Gwen wasn’t TSTL and didn’t pursue leads in a rash manner. Kendall had me confident that Gwen’s training had been thorough, and that she could handle herself in a dangerous situation.

I think Kendall is a talented writer and I wouldn’t hesitate to read another of her books. In fact, I do plan on reading the first book of the series, Take Me If You Can, because of my interest in Avy and Liam. But while on the whole Take Me Two Times was enjoyable, it just wasn’t quite good enough for me to recommend.

Reviewed by Katie Mack
Grade : C+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : May 4, 2009

Publication Date: 2009

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