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Monday, May 21, 2012

Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono

Aegean Intrigue by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Someone has been stealing priceless Greek artifacts and it's Alex Leonidis' job to uncover the thief. His prime suspect is beautiful archaeological graduate student, Francie Vasileiou. His plan is to join in an archaeological dig and catch her in the act. All he has to do is keep his mind on his job, and not on the way his lovely suspect warms his heart. He's learned the hard way not to trust fragile-looking women who seem to need his help.

Francie wants to get her PhD and become an archaeologist, like her famous father. The sudden invitation to participate in a dig on the beautiful Greek island of Paros is a wonderful opportunity. She has no time for distractions like Alex, the handsome Project Director. Experience has taught her to stay clear of handsome, charismatic Greek men.

On the shores of the Aegean Sea, Alex and Francie work together, searching for treasures from Greece's past. While pursuing their goals, they discover some of the truths they had believed to be carved in stone may have been flawed.

Leap into the Aegean Sea, the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe even true love in Patricia Kiyono’s romance, Aegean Intrigue.

This one has it all. The backdrop is utterly, perfectly romantic; Athens, overshadowed by Mount Olympus and full of history. The details are be-there perfect, with an exotic and definitely romantic aura throughout. You feel caressed by the warm breezes, and lift your eyes as if you too, could look out over the ruins of the Acropolis.

It seems the perfect place in all the world for Francie Vasileiou, college archaeology student, to complete her studies. Lovely setting, a chance to work off her living arrangements, and a good friend she can rely on.  What could be better? The last thing we expect is for a certain type of ugliness to ruin such a perfect setting, and style of living, but one man mars it all.

Francie, perhaps a tiny bit suspicious, was, in fact, rightfully suspicious of her ‘friend’. Still, she finds help from an unexpected source – the mysterious Alex Leonidis. Of course, he seems a shining knight in his first appearance, yet we discover he has his own agenda immediately. Danger and intrigue clearly go hand in hand here…but can we also hope for love?

We readers might feel a tingling of hope in the early stages, however, each of the main characters has their own motivation. Somehow, they also manage to bring out the worst in one another. In addition, the missing artifacts – and some of the facts about those items – are more than intriguing, they introduce a serious threat. So, the conversations between the two start off more confrontational than romantic. And, those conversations are absolutely riveting and totally believable.

Back-story details, although necessary, seriously slow the story in places. Alex’ reflections about the case, a woman, and his wonderful mother all drag. Old loves have left both, separately, less trusting in some manner. This small portion is oddly predictable, in a story that is otherwise fresh and spirited. This is but a small point, however, and it didn't stop me from reading on.

Do read: from the first moments when the group takes to camping out at the dig site, even if you had never thought to visit Athens, you will wish you were there. Even the food brings an authentic flavor to Aegean Intrigue. Long before you are halfway through, you’ll be wishing for a taste of the spicy spetzofai and a to be drinking wine from a paper cup. This story is just as full of flavor and a great read.