The Willful Wife
The Willful Wife is Suzanne Simms fourth in her Desire series Hazard’s Inc. It is not a book to be taken seriously – it is a book that qualifies as pure, delightful escapism. No tortured hero, no scarred heroine. Just two people that are caught in a rapid and humorous love at first sight event, and I couldn’t have been happier to have read it.
Mathis Hazard does work part time for the family P.I. business, Hazard’s Inc., run by various Hazard men. He is asked by a respected associate to provide security for Desiree Stratford, a woman who finds herself in threatening circumstances while refurbishing the hotel she recently inherited from her grandfather. Upon taking the case, he discovers two things: one, that Desiree is much more than the debutante he assumed she would be, and two, that there is actually a serious threat to Desiree’s safety. He installs himself at the hotel by posing as Desiree’s estranged husband, and finds himself, of course, having difficulty maintaining a professional distance where Desiree is concerned.
One of the most delightful aspects of this book is the dialogue. Desiree and Mathis find themselves instantly attracted to each other, but their relationship seems to be developing into much more because they actually talk to one another. They assk each other pertinent questions and comment about their feelings and past experiences. Not always the norm in romance novels. There are other things to like: Mathis’ need to quote from The Art of War, which is his all time favorite book; Desiree’s discoveries about her grandfather; and a good mixture of suspense and humor.
With the given grade of B-, there would have to be problems as well, and there are a few. The suspenseful sub-plot is interesting, but it fizzles out with the unmasking of the villain. Although Desiree and Mathis take time to get to know one another, the HEA had an abrupt feel to it, and therefore wasn’t as satisfying. Of course this could be caused by the length restraints of a series, but I have read the other books in this series and did not have the same problems with them. Ms. Simms is a talented author, and has pulled off the combination of suspense and intimacy much more successfully in some of her past books.
Still, The Willful Wife is, as I said, a good escapist read. For such a short book, it is full of intelligent conversation, a smart and funny heroine, a semi-dangerous but altogether lovable hero, and some touching intimacy.
Suzanne Simms hasn’t written a Silhouette Desire for quite awhile. I sure hope she plans to keep on writing them, and does it soon.