This is my first Christina Skye book. Oh, dear. Should I have confessed that? It’s not for lack of want to read her books, it’s more a time issue, as it is with all the authors in the old TBR pile. But I think this was a good choice to start out with, a fun stolen-art caper with a strong hero and heroine, and a couple of villains I’m glad only exist on pages of a book.
The first chapter is chock full of action. Our heroine, Nell is an art restorer by trade, but her hobby, so to speak, is rescuing stranded or in-trouble mountain climbers. She’s an expert’s expert at it too. Decisive and caring, she takes control and does the job smoothly and perfectly. In this instance our hero, who is a SEAL, is also thrown into the mix during her current rescue of student climbers, a couple of which are injured.
Even though Dakota’s mission includes watching Nell as part of a recent theft ring, he is impressed by her and admires her skill and control when he sees her in action on that mountaintop. But the government has the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — Nell’s father is a former art thief recently released from prison, so they’re assuming Nell is also involved. Dakota nixes that idea very quickly and follows his own instincts in the process of getting to know her.
I really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. This is another one where the hero and heroine work together to remedy outside conflict instead of having that conflict tear them apart for ten chapters before realizing love conquers all. In all the books I’ve read over the years, this type of relationship doesn’t happen all that often, so it’s always a breath of fresh air when I run across it.
Nell is perfect for Dakota. She’s independent, witty, resourceful, athletic, and very intelligent. She’s the one who teaches him how to free climb for the furtherance of his mission later in the book. For both of them to have a “no trust/no leaning” mantra in their lives because of either their past or their jobs, it was a treat to see them smooth into each other’s lives both professionally and emotionally. Their love scenes are sensual and either slow or fierce depending on the type of loving needed at the moment.
The entire storyline was very interesting. I have no idea if I missed anything by not having read any of the previous Draycott Abbey books. There are a couple of paranormal elements, Dakota’s enhanced vision being the best, but the Draycott ghost and friend, well, I’m not sure of the point of having them interspersed throughout the story. Maybe that’s something I’ll discover when I read those previous books. But since all of that was such a small part here and there, it didn’t detract any from the main story.
After this first successful foray into Christina Skye books, I’m looking forward to more.
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.
Read Gwen’s review here.