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Monday, December 13, 2010

Guarding the Socialite by Kimberly Van Meter

Guarding the Socialite by Kimberly Van Meter
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Socialite Emma Vale has dedicated herself to Iris House—a sanctuary for women starting over. But when she's called in to identify the body of one of her girls, Emma is stunned to learn that the women of Iris House have been targeted by a violent sociopath…and she could be next.

Still nursing some hefty emotional baggage, FBI agent Dillon McIntyre has been lying low, but something about this case seems to reach out to him. Or is he just responding to Emma herself? As the list of suspects grows and the killer hones in on his target, Dillon must face the difference between protecting a potential victim…and protecting the woman he loves.

Talk about opposites attracting! We have a FBI agent with a fabulous accent who’s still recovering emotionally from losing a partner in his last case and a rich socialite who’s opted to run a shelter for prostitutes. He’s brash, outspoken and often rude. She’s quiet but strong and determined, yet mostly proper. Oil meet water.

Though this is the second in a series, I never really felt lost reading this story. Oh, it was clear I’d missed some background on agent Dillon McIntyre, but in the long run what I didn’t know didn’t hurt me or my enjoyment of this story.

In this book, someone is killing prostitutes in a truly brutal, bloody fashion. And the only link between the women, besides their occupation, is the fact that they were residents of Iris House, a shelter run by Socialite Emma Vale. Normally, hookers being killed isn’t a first priority with law enforcement, but strings have been pulled because it’s possible that Emma is in danger.

There is much emotional angst on the parts of both our characters. Dillon’s stems from having his partner killed pretty much in front of him and he often wonders why he didn’t die, too. He drinks too much, barely contains his constant anger (though manages to let it out on a pimp in a truly delightful moment) and oozes sex. I loved his sarcasm and snark, and the fact that he’s ready to do what it takes to solve the case, even if it means treading on a few toes. Despite some of his annoying behavior, Dillon’s true hero material.

Emma is trying somehow to save her dead sister over and over by redeeming other women who are selling themselves. She’d been unable to keep her twin from dying on the streets, so has dedicated her life to keeping others from the same fate. She truly loves the women in her home and will give anything, do anything to keep them from harm’s way. She’s an admirable woman who clings tightly to control, so it’s fascinating to see what happens when that control finally breaks!

Ms. Van Meter has written a story that kept me wondering who dunnit until near the end; a story that was both sexy and tender and filled with romance and emotion. Dillon and Emma resist the tumble into love, but don’t stand a chance... and the epilogue was touching.

I was a little frustrated by not understanding why the women were killed in the manner they were. I also wish we’d found out who the boy hiding in one of the rooms was – I don’t think I missed that reveal. But those were minor issues, and the writing and the romance far outshone those problems.

Looking for a story with a good mystery, a sexy Brit and lots of romance? Grab a copy of Guarding the Socialite and see why I recommend it.