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Monday, March 14, 2011

Guardian of the Jewel by LaVerne Clark

Guardian of the Jewel by LaVerne Clark
Jewel of the Night
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (124 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

After coming to terms with the brutal death of her husband by unknown thugs half a world away from New Zealand, Amy Hamblin concentrates on bringing up their son alone, struggling to make their dream of an action-adventure tourism venture a success.

When a dark, dangerous-looking man knocks on her door late at night claiming to be a guest, the safe, quiet life she’d created is suddenly anything but...

Gabriel Ryan’s task of finding the priceless blue diamond Amy’s husband stole from an organised crime ring, is made all the more difficult by the attraction that sizzles between them. Playing a role had never been so hard, and now, with a ruthless killer on the trail of the missing jewel as well, he needed all his wits about him to keep them all alive.

Two very different and equally dangerous men have their sights set on Amy.

Ms. Clark did an excellent job setting the tone right from the start. The prologue provided a chilling account of the death of Amy’s husband, and foreshadowed the danger Amy and her son would soon find themselves in. I eagerly dove into the story intent on finding out what would happen to Amy and her son. A year and a half later, Amy’s life was just beginning to feel normal again. Her son’s nightmares about his father’s death were less frequent, and she thought she’d put the horror of it all behind her. The contrast between the simple life Amy was trying to lead and the danger I knew was lurking in the shadows was striking and made the tension palpable as I turned each page.

Gabriel and Amy had chemistry to burn. While I usually like the hero and heroine to have more time to get to know each other, Ms. Clark really makes the “love at first sight” connection work. The whole story only spans a couple days and that sort of pacing necessitated an immediate connection. That alone wouldn’t have been satisfying, but I really felt that Gabe and Amy had a genuine connection that would last when the crisis they were facing was over.

I also really liked the way that Gabe treated Daniel, Amy’s son. Relationships are always a bit more complicated when children are involved. Gabe always treated Daniel with respect and made an effort to get to know him without it feeling forced or fake. I particularly enjoyed Gabe consulting Daniel about his burgeoning romance with is mom. Daniel’s response was priceless.

I did have one issue with the story. From the beginning, Amy instinctively knew she and her son might be in danger. Gabe knew for a fact just how precarious the situation was, but didn’t tell Amy until it was too late. I found it difficult to believe that he could find time to talk to Daniel about his relationship with Amy, but couldn’t find time to have a serious discussion with her, especially since she’s a smart, strong woman and could have handled the truth.

Despite this issue, I think Guardian of the Jewel is a really good read. The pacing and tension were excellent and the romance was sizzling. Fans of romantic suspense will definitely want to pick up a copy today.