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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mr. Charming by Nancy J. Parra

Mr. Charming by Nancy J. Parra
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (216 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Sometimes the worst place to hide is in plain sight.

Jennifer Sumner is a single mom with a secret past. At the request of her brother, lead investigator on the case, she takes in a wealthy playboy who is pretending to be dead. Jennifer walks a fine line as she struggles with the press, who can expose both the playboy and her troubled past, the playboy who threatens her lonely heart, and the killer who now wants them both dead. Can her brother catch the killer before her hard earned life comes crashing down around her?

Mr. Charming charms from the very start. The chemistry sizzles from the first moments Jennifer meets ‘devastatingly handsome’ Kane. Sadly, she recognizes him right along with his reputation, so the temptation is tempered somewhat. Playboy Kane is not someone she is going to let herself be seduced by. In fact, she doesn’t even want to help him out of his jam… but her brother is really persuasive.

Practical and opinionated, it would be hard to imagine Jennifer having anything to do with someone like Kane, except in these unusual circumstances, and because of how his predicament has appealed to her. Then Kane is unexpectedly so good with children, and a role model even in small ways, like waiting for a lady to take her seat. We readers suspect a good side to this so-called playboy, long before Jennifer does. The intrigue really sets somewhat late in the story, while Jennifer is still sorting trust issues. Now, she has to deal with threats, and fear, while still wondering if Kane is – in any way – trustworthy.

Throughout, our two main characters, while plausible, seem somewhat unoriginal. Who they are and their backgrounds bring no surprises. Interactions between the two are too predictable, while well-developed secondary roles, like her brother Jason and young Thomas, are fresher, less ‘done’ personalities. The dialogue wonderfully conveys a variety of meanings, innuendos, and information; all quite believable. Events are far less predictable, and suspense builds rapidly. Charm is a useful tool, we learn, and Parra certainly charms with her works. Although the twists and turns are a bit too pat and predictable, this is a beautifully written story and well worth a read.