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Book CoverGwen’s review of To Catch A Thief (Draycott Abbey Series) by Christina Skye
Contemporary romantic action/suspense released by HQN 1 Sep 08

I really liked this entry in Skye’s loosely related Draycott Abbey series.  It’s chock full of action, romance, sensuality, priceless works of art, and good villains.  One of those overall fun books that is a blast to read in the airport or on the commuter train. There are some very mild paranormal elements – both of the woowoo kind and the sci-fi kind.  Just a fun book. 

The heroine, Nell, is the child of a thief.  She’s battled for years to distance herself professionally from her father – she’s a fine art restorer and he’s a fine art thief.  Her father, recently released from prison, and thru no fault of his own except for his reputation, has gotten himself embroiled in something big and bad.  As a result, Nell sees all the effort to keep separated from Dad come to a crashing failure and it breaks her heart professionally and personally.  She loves her dad, but bemoans his choices in life.

Because of her family ties, at the beginning of the book the hero, Dakota, is sure that Nell is not on the up and up.  Luckily for us, this Misunderstanding doesn’t last for too long – I hate it when The Misunderstanding lasts too long because I just want the relationship to move forward already.  We’re saved that particular torture in TCAT.

The hero, Dakota, is one of the operatives in a special task force who battles bad guys.  He’s had some “enhancements” to his vision that allows him to see across the light spectrum – infrared to ultraviolet (this is the sci-fi bit).  This means he can “see” emotions by monitoring physical responses in a person’s body.  This ability is one of the primary reason The Misunderstanding ends as early as it does.

Dakota and Nell are thrown together on a mountaintop when she tries to save a group of hikers almost single-handedly.  She’s an expert climber – both mountain and free-climbing (the kind that scares the shit out of me even when I watch it on television – no ropes!) – and is around when this group of students get caught by a sudden storm at the beginning of the book.  She is so skilled, that Nell is later used to train the big, bad SEAL hero to free-climb for a mission and she does a damn good job of it.

The development of the relationship between the hero and heroine is very satisfying.  It isn’t rushed and there is obvious chemistry.  The sensual scenes are really lovely.  I adored the heroine’s description of the hero and her eventual acceptance of him in her life, despite her “don’t trust, don’t lean” motto at the beginning.  She accepts him.  He accepts her.  They don’t try to change each other and accept what each other is, their background, and their lives.  It’s really lovely to see a mature relationship and not something that derails one or the other’s life.

I was a little confused about Dakota’s involvement in certain aspects of Nell’s father’s storyline, but that was a small price to pay for such a fun story.  The Draycott Abbey ghost was a little superfluous, but I suppose it makes more sense in the other books (that I haven’t read).

I didn’t give the book an A, but this is a very solid B+.  I won’t be rushing out to buy the rest of Skye’s books, but if I see one at the store, I’ll be very likely to buy it.  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, action-packed romance.  And if you’re going on a business trip soon, this is some really great escapist entertainment.

faye.jpgGrade: B+


Nell MacInnes can spot a forgery from a mile away. After all, she learned from the best—her father is one of the art world’s most notorious thieves. His brutal beating by the very authorities who claim to keep the world safe from harm taught her one more valuable lesson—trust no one.

The last thing rugged Navy SEAL Dakota Smith needs on his mission is a tempting woman he doesn’t trust. But a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci has gone missing, and the art conservator’s skill in detecting forgery would be invaluable, if only her ties to the criminal world are as dead as she says they are.

Soon an edgy partnership and white-hot attraction are forged between Nell and Dakota as they race to Draycott Abbey to track down a ruthless criminal with terrorist ties before time runs out—and the da Vinci is lost forever.

Read an excerpt.