Desert Isle Keeper Review

Flirting with Danger

Suzanne Enoch
2005, Contemporary Romance
Avon, $6.99, 347 pages, Amazon ASIN 0060593636
Part of a series

Grade: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Okay, so sexy (British, no less!) 33-year old billionaires are pretty scarce on the ground. Ditto a mid-twenties professional female thief who scales walls and enters lavish mansions through sun roofs and windows to steal rare objects of art. But, anybody willing to forget about reality and let themselves go with Ms. Enoch's improbable, over-the-top, and altogether wonderful fantasy, is in for a heck of a wild ride.

Ms. Enoch begins her first contemporary romance with a bang (I do apologize, but I can't resist) when Samantha Jellicoe saves our handsome billionaire from a bomb. Problem is, she doesn't get a lot of credit for her life-saving since she was inside the estate to steal a rare Trojan stone tablet and stumbles across the bomb only when the billionaire and a security guard stumble across her. Still, even though Samantha disappears in the confusion following the blast, hero Richard Addison is smart enough to know that Samantha - though clearly a thief - didn't set the bomb and did save his life. Plus, she's really cute.

Unfortunately, getting the police to buy into that is another matter. Still, as the pressure starts to build and there are ominous rumblings from both the cops and fellow thieves who just might know who set the bomb, Samantha decides her only hope is to appeal to Richard directly - which she does by, quite literally, entering through the sun roof and once again surprising Richard in his home. How's that for an entrance?

Samantha proposes what she sees as a fair exchange: She'll help Richard discover who set the bomb (since he, she reasons, must have been the target) if he'll help her prove to the police that she didn't plant the explosive that killed the estate security guard who caught Samantha mid-theft. Eventually, with only a minor bit of hemming and hawing, Richard finds himself agreeing. After all, Sam is really cute.

So, with both the cops (who don't know Sam is the thief) and his anxious minion (who does) hovering, the art thief and the billionaire - with more than understandable caution on each of their parts - become an unlikely duo in search of the answers to the theft, the bombing, and whole lots of other neat stuff that crops up along the way.

To be honest, if there is a weakness in this book it is the plot which, frankly, takes a few too many twists and turns for my taste. (I mean, it shouldn't be hard to keep all the action straight in a book this light!) What makes this book work - and, boy, does it work - are the characters of Sam and Richard, sparkling dialogue, and the manner in which Ms. Enoch combines her throughly modern heroine (who is snarky enough for any reader who loves a good snark) with some old fashioned romantic elements I haven't come across in a while. I kind of like it when the hero is moved by the heroine's strength in the face of adversity and, heck, if she gets hurt in the course of the story and the hero tenderly takes care of her, that's even better.

But this heroine is anything but a heroine to pity. She is unapologetically a thief - Sam is who she is, baby, and though, she just might be persuaded to turn her considerable talents full time to more legitimate pursuits, she'll do that only if and when she makes that decision.

As for Richard, well, if he were real, we'd all be sighing over his exploits in the tabloids. Smart, sexy, drop dead gorgeous, and, of course, really, really rich, he's a fantasy guy and an over the top hero who falls hard for our girl. Quite frankly, even though, Ms. Enoch does take the time to help us understand how Sam got to be who and what she is, her insights into Richard are a bit thinner. I think there are very good reasons for that since certain facts about him aren't revealed until very late in the book (and they make a wonderful surprise), not to mention the author's intention to continue the adventures of Sam and Richard in future books. Rest assured, I'll be there for more about Richard and keep my fingers crossed that Ms. Enoch plans to write really, really quickly.

I have to be honest and admit that I stopped reading Ms. Enoch's historical romances a while ago. Though I enjoyed them on some levels, they began to feel a bit young to me and since I'm well . . . not so young, it didn't seem to be a very good match. But, if the fun I had reading this book is anything to go by, I may well give a few of those books another shot.

If you're pining for a smartly written, over the top romance with bigger than life characters who engage in admittedly improbable antics in order to solve an equally improbable mystery, then Flirting with Danger is a book you won't want to miss. As for me, considering her fabulous debut, I'll extend to the author my welcome to the world of contemporaries. I, for one, am darn glad to have you.

-- Sandy Coleman

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