Series: Valentine series #1
Format Read: PDF
Release Date: August 5, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble
Book Blurb (from goodreads):
Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is in the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack, is worth the risk.
Reviewed By: Bea
I love romantic suspense, and I love chocolate, so I was excited to read this book. Unfortunately the book did not live up to my expectations. The mystery was okay; it wasn't hard to figure out, and several of the twists I saw coming miles in advance, particularly the one about Jack's family.
My main problem with the book though was the romance. I found Jack to be overbearing and condescending and Tess had a distressing tendency to be a doormat. I noted this several times in my status updates and Kindle shares, such as this one at 25% in: "He's still overbearing and she's still not standing up for herself.
There's a mystery of sorts for the first third of the book about why Tess left the big city, Washington DC, and moved to a small rural town and Harte is coy about why Jack and Tess broke up several years ago. Jack acts all confused and hurt about why Tess left and why she wants nothing to do with him now, and Tess is confused about Jack's interest in her, she doesn't believe its real, and I was confused about what they saw in each other. Tess doesn't want to be attracted to Jack, and tries to deny that she is while Jack smugly, gleefully rubs her face in the fact that she is attracted and he really does know best. By the time Harte reveals the details of their past together, I was past caring.
One aspect of the story that I enjoyed was Tess's interactions with the Worthington family. Her own family has been very hurtful to her over the years but the Worthingtons, who are at the center of the mystery, took her in as a teen. Daniel, who is a police officer, loves her but she doesn't love him. Her relationship with Daniel and his parents becomes strained when Jack is the prime suspect and she signs on as his defense lawyer. Harte deftly shows us their relationships and brings it to life.
Harte also has a knack for evocative phrases:
To Tess, February in Jefferson Tavern was like a month full of Mondays. It was dark, cold, and endless despite its being only 28 days.
Sleet, she determined, was like Slurpees falling from the sky, only without color or taste.
Interested? Want to try it for yourself? Click here to read an excerpt.
I received a PDF from Reading Addiction Book Tours for review.