A well written, enjoyable read, but some unevenness of pacing and a bit too much arsing about stopped me giving the book the top mark I wanted to.
The Blaze line is flying under false colors. It’s not the erotic line it claims to be. In fact, it’s barely hot. Using the occasional “cock” or “clit” doesn’t make a book erotic. Anyway, as long as I remember that the Blaze is just a version of the Presents line, but with a wider selection of hero backgrounds, I’m good to go. In this book, for instance, there’s one fully realized sex scene which takes them most of the book to get to, with some fade-to-black and partial scenes. There is the potential in the set-up for this book for so much more on the erotic side and for the couple to get involved with each other erotically and learn about themselves and each other through sex, but the opportunities are passed up. So don’t read Blazes for the heat, for the most part you’ll be wasting your time. Read them for stories about people falling in love.
This story concerns two FBI agents who know each other but haven’t worked together before. Ryan is at a luxury resort, ready to take part in a sting to take down a blackmailer. The resort caters to couples who want to rekindle their sex lives. Ryan is expecting to work with his regular partner, Jeannie, a married woman and a good friend. They’ve even practiced behaving like a couple. But in this event, Jeannie is delayed with a court case that won’t end, and they send Angie instead. Angie has fancied Ryan for some time, but she also knows he’s trouble, the serial womanizer so familiar to readers of Harlequin romance.
Their attraction gets in the way of them working the case, but what could have been a great chance to show them unbending and getting more comfortable through the classes is wasted in the blackmail plot and introspection. There is one scene where it’s mentioned that Angie has been rubbing oil over Ryan in a tantric massage session, but we don’t get to experience it, only her reaction later. I do think that is a shame, it’s a great opportunity to develop the characters. For all I know, the scene is there in the original but cut for one reason or another, because the narrative does read as if there’s something missing at that point.
Angie and Ryan grow closer, and there is a lot of will-they, won’t-they. They must be the only people who don’t realize they are in a Harlequin book. Of course they would. But the tension is fun, it just goes on a little too long.
The blackmail plot is pretty uninteresting and is wisely shoved to the background. One of my problems is that nobody is in any danger, ever. If Angie and Ryan had been found out, they’d have gone back to the office and announced their failure. There is a chance of promotion, one job, and both of them want it, but that didn’t really play into the story until later.
The end of the story is rushed. The blackmailers are found, the lovers do their “whoops, we’re in love” and the promotion subplot is resolved in a few breathless pages. While it is good that something is finally happening, it happens too fast to give any real satisfaction or to let the reader have any sense of resolution. However, I did enjoy most of the read, and I do like Leigh’s style, smooth and without too much hyperbole.
Get Intimate: The Workshop
Explore sensuality and true intimacy at the luxurious Color Canyon Resort.
Private assignments include sexy “homeplay” and more…The setup was simple. To ferret out a blackmailer, FBI agent Ryan Vail and his partner are going undercover as a couple at an intimacy retreat. But when Ryan wakes to find a replacement “wife” in his bed, he knows he’s in big trouble….
FBI agent Angie Wolf is on the job. Sure, there’s a wicked attraction between her and Ryan, but they’re professionals. Touching, kissing—it’s all part of the sting. But the intimacy retreat is doing its job, because each tension-filled night in bed is blurring the line between truth and lie. Now this investigation has turned into one irresistible temptation!
Read an excerpt.