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Friday, October 11, 2013

ARC Review: Dangerous Desire by Annie Seaton


I’m a romantic suspense ‘ho and I’m foreign, so romantic suspense + exotic foreign setting (in this case, Australia’s Coral Sea) = winning setup. DANGEROUS DESIRE was my first read by Aussie author Annie Seaton, and it won’t be my last: it’s a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced read that mixes the right amount of danger & deceit and smouldering romance to keep you guessing and reaching for a fan.

Schoolteacher-from-the-Outback Gracie James finds herself in the yachting capital of the Great Barrier Reef looking for her missing sister, who was last seen working aboard the Midas, the luxury yacht-slash-hedonistic-playground of a dodgy Brazilian businessman. Forcibly medically-retired former Queensland Police officer Jake Alexander is keeping an eye on the Midas for a (purported) insurance surveillance assignment, getting a nightly eyeful of the sexual exploits on board that only fuel his frustrated libido. When Gracie stumbles onto Jake’s boat dressed to kill in an attempt to get onboard the Midas and find her sister (and nearly blows the cover on his surreptitious surveillance), the two of them form for an uneasy alliance to figure out what’s going on—whilst trying to outmanoeuvre the bad guys and keep their hands off each other. The plot is not incredibly original (there are only so many permutations of criminals, hot blokes with guns, and women getting themselves into potentially deadly situations, after all!), but Ms. Seaton does a great job keeping the tension taut and the sense of danger palpable without going overboard into ridiculously unrealistic territory. And when you think you’ve sorted out the half-truths everyone is telling and have figured out what’s going on, she throws a nice twist at the end to keep you on your toes [albeit, admittedly, I foresaw it… but I read a LOT of romantic suspense]. The story is fairly short, which is usually a drawback for me, but Ms. Seaton does a great job with the length and delivers a complete story that never drags (there’s no time for it with so much going on!) but that doesn’t feel rushed. And I thoroughly enjoyed the lush, tropical setting—I could practically feel the oppressive humidity and the volatility of the weather.

I have to say that my favourite part of the novel was Jake. I absolutely loved him as a hero—he’s a little wounded, a lot frustrated with the injury that destroyed not only his police career but also his sense of self, and plenty sexy. The best part is that, while he’s undeniably strong and alpha and has a protective streak a mile wide, he’s not overbearing. He wants to keep Gracie from harm, but once he realises she’s Hell-bent on doing things her way and getting on board the Midas to see about her sister with her own eyes, he works hard at keeping her safe rather than stopping her. Because there really is no derailing Gracie from her set course. Though she initially comes across as vulnerable and na├»ve, she can be quite willful and reckless in her single-minded determination to find her sister, and she’s quite distrustful of Jake. There were times I wanted to smack her upside the head for putting herself (and by extension, Jake) in unnecessary danger, and for continuously wondering if Jake was in on the criminal activity despite giving her absolutely no reason to think so. Other than the gorgeous house no former cop should be able to afford. Seriously, hot, rich (with a house in the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef!), AND alpha but not autocratic? Jake can be my book boyfriend any day. There’s also great sexual tension between Gracie and poor Jake, who has nowhere to put all the pent-up sexual frustration accrued from watching the sexcapades on the Midas whilst by his lonesome. All that tension and scorching attraction makes for some fun dialogue and hot love scenes when it’s finally decanted, and Ms. Seaton does a great job balancing the action/suspense and the romance/sexytimes. And the epilogue is the cutest thing ever.

So far, I’m really enjoying Entangled’s Ignite imprint of category-length romantic suspense. If you like your romantic suspense fast-paced and weighted toward the romance and want a great read set in an exotic-but-not-remote location, definitely give DANGEROUS DESIRE a try. I really look forward to seeing what else Annie Seaton puts out in this genre, and how she can fine-tune her already-excellent romantic suspense voice.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |



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