This book started out with an interesting premise, but due to a serious lack of sizzle between the hero and heroine, and a few plot problems, it went downhill about halfway through.
Isabella Joubert is the daughter of a wealthy businessman who also happens to be the head of an extremely large criminal organization. Isabella has never been able to come to terms with her father’s business and has not seen him for 7 years. Marc Joubert is dying, and Bella travels to his bedside to say goodbye. Marc tells Bella that she must find a disc he has hidden and follow his instructions involving some final charitable donations. Bella is suspicious, but agrees.
After Marc’s death, Bella retrieves the disc and discovers that it is not a list of charitable donations, but a list of the people he has bribed over the years to maintain his criminal network. The list includes judges, police, politicians, and Bella’s ex-lover, Sandro Marchese.
Bella is shocked to discover that Sandro was a Customs Agent, and even more shocked to discover that there is video footage of him agreeing to a bribe from Marc. Sandro was sleeping with Bella to gain information about the Joubert corporation. Bella has know that Sandro was untrustworthy after finding him with another woman, but she is shocked to discover he could sink even lower. Bella does not know what step to take next, but not to worry, that decision is taken out of her hands.
Following a series of criminal attacks involving Bella’s residence, she finds herself face to face with Sandro once again. He assures her he is a trustworthy person, but she is buying none of it. She calls her brother, Tony, who has taken over leadership of the company, for help. The situation only gets worse from there.
Don’t count on much relationship development here. The plot is focused on the intricacies of who wants the disc and why. From Sandro’s point of view, he hated leaving Bella, but had an important job to do. He has never stopped thinking about Bella, and wants to protect her. Bella still finds herself attracted to Sandro and realizes that she never really stopped loving him. There is really no further exploration of their feelings, except that Bella does overcome her distrust of him.
I found it implausible that US Customs was suspicious of Bella when it could be easily verified that she had not had contact with her family in 7 years. Their belief that Marc had handed over the reins of the corporation to Bella when there are much more obvious criminals around seemed to call for more suspension of disbelief than this reviewer could muster.
The author keeps the story moving at a fast-paced clip, and, as a result, the romance definitely suffered. The best part of the book for me could actually be found in the character of Marisa, Bella’s sister. It appears that Marisa will have her own book, and the teaser for her story looks like it may have more romantic elements than this story.
If you are a fan of suspense and can accept some unbelievable premises, this wouldn’t be a bad choice. If, however, you like romance in your romantic suspense, better choose elsewhere.