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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kiss Me Slowly by Amber Lea Easton

Kiss Me Slowly by Amber Lea Easton
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (313 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Neck-deep in a setup that could have him in jail or dead by Monday, Jonathan Alexander is desperate. It’s Saturday. His only hope is Grace Dupont, the best forensic accountant in Miami. But there’s a glitch with that idea. She is also his ex-girlfriend who would rather watch him drown than throw him a life vest.

Grace enjoys seeing Jonathan squirm. On your knees, boy, she thinks as he pitches for her help. Always a sucker for the dark-haired, blue-eyed boys, she risks her precariously balanced life of secrets to help him.

Trapped in a whirlwind of diamond smuggling and million-dollar money trails, Jonathan and Grace flee to the sea to stall for time as they try to prove his innocence. Romance sizzles beneath Florida Keys sunshine. Both scoff at happy endings. Both doubt justice. Both know each kiss could be their last.

If Jonathan’s only hope is a woman who hates him, he might be better off taking his chances with the FBI.

I could feel the walls closing in on Jonathan from page one. He absolutely believes he’ll be in “jail or dead by Monday.” His anxiety and desperation are palpable and I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d done, or rather not done, to be in such a precarious situation. Jonathan knows Grace is his only hope. However, they were high school sweethearts and to say their relationship didn’t end well is a massive understatement. Jonathan is so pitiful that Grace agrees to help him despite her wounded heart. From that moment on, the pacing of Kiss Me Slowly takes off and I was in for a high-speed ride.

Grace and Jonathan find themselves on the run dodging bullets and trying to unravel the web Jonathan is tangled in. Whoever is setting Jonathan up always seems to be one step ahead of them. The sense of urgency intensified with every page and had me racing to the end of the book. I do have to say, I don’t think there were quite enough clues to solve the entire mystery. I was able to fit most of the pieces of the puzzle together, but the final piece really seemed to come out of nowhere. I would have enjoyed the story even more if all the pieces had been presented.

Putting it mildly, Grace is a complicated woman. Her life has been one tragedy after another, including a very bad experience with the justice system that leaves her unwilling to trust anyone outside of her immediate family. This experience made her willingness to help Jonathan in ways that aren’t exactly legal completely believable. Grace tries very hard to appear cold and aloof, but it's all a mask. I really enjoyed watching her carefully crafted exterior melt to reveal a warm, caring, and very strong woman.

Jonathan is a good man, but he has absolutely no business being the CEO of a company. Like Grace, I couldn’t help but shake my head and wonder why he didn’t seek out help when he first began to notice that things in his business weren’t right. Even though he lacks a certain amount of common sense, Jonathan’s heart is usually in the right place. When things get dangerous, he does everything he can to protect Grace not only from whoever is out to ruin him, but also from the officials in law enforcement who wouldn’t approve of some of Grace’s “hobbies.”

Jonathan and Grace have chemistry to burn. They carry a lot of baggage that threatens to dampen the sparks between them, but their feelings for each other simply will not be denied. I liked that they didn’t ignore the past heartache. They faced it head on and had some pretty intense fights that had me wondering if they truly had a future together. Even though there was plenty of tension surrounding their relationship, it was easy to picture them as a couple. When they simply took a time out, they had an easy way of relating to each other that just made sense and had me hoping for a happy ending.

Kiss Me Slowly is a gripping suspense filled with plenty of danger and passion. Romantic suspense fans won’t want to miss it.