Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
I am a huge fan of Jill Sorenson’s work. I love good romantic suspense and I think this is an author that knows how to write it. She has an amazing ability to create real and flawed characters that are likeable, and her sex scenes are scorching hot. So I was eager to read this book and while it wasn’t my favorite of hers, it was an enjoyable and fast read.
Isabel Sanborn is a woman on the run. She used to be a privileged party girl hanging out with the wrong crowd. When she wakes up from a night of hard partying and finds her companion dead she flees the scene. The problem is that the dead guy happens to be the son of a Mexican drug lord, so now she lives in Mexico as a fugitive hiding from the people who want revenge and from the law.
Brandon Knox is an undercover U.S. Marshall in charge of locating Isabel and bringing her to justice. Posing as a tourist he ends up saving Isabel’s life and now they are on the run. She doesn’t really know why he’s helping her but since she needs him she accepts his help. What neither of them expects is the intense attraction they are both feeling, but for several obvious reasons they must fight that attractions before it gets them killed.
This was a very intense book, it isn’t long but the action picks up almost from chapter one and it stays up until the very end. The scenery is beautiful and you can tell that Sorenson knows the places she describes because you can almost feel like you are there. By the end of the book I was seriously considering vacationing in Mexico.
My opinion of Isabel changed as the book kept progressing. At first I found her strong and likeable but once I read about her past and the reasons she was hiding she came across as immature and as a very bad decisions maker. I was a bit annoyed by her until I realized that she did a lot of growing up and she no longer was that spoiled brat. Granted, she does the growing up off-camera and that threw me off a bit, but by the end of the book I found her courage admirable, even though I still felt like she could have saved herself a lot of pain by making better choices. My main issue with her was that her journey from drug-addict party girl to level-headed woman on the run was mighty fast and quite unrealistic.
Brandon was a great hero because he finds himself in this difficult situation where he has a job to do but feels an intense attraction towards this woman and acting on it could jeopardize his job and their lives. He also suffered from a lack of maturity (he was young and fairly new to the job) and just like Isabel he made some wrong choices. One of my favorite things about Sorenson’s books is that she manages to make the love story between young and immature characters, believable. I don’t like romances where the lead characters are in their twenties, but in this case it worked and I could not only root for them but also believe in their happily ever after.
One particular issue that I had with the book –not so much a problem but something I would like to note- was that when I started the book I was unaware that Brandon was an U.S. Marshall (it says so on the blurb but I guess I forgot about it). Since he is quite vague about why he is after Isabel I spent more than half the book wondering if he was some type of bounty hunter hired by the drug lord and one of those bad guys turned good. Then there’s the big reveal and everything gets straightened out, but that subplot (which might have been just part of my imagination and poor attention to detail) was quite interesting and suspenseful, so I wonder if having the blurb state what he really does for a living kind of hurts the book a bit and it might be a bit spoilerish.
I found the ending quite anticlimactic, I kept expecting something else to happen but it never did. I think that their journey wasn’t so much about escaping from the bad guys as it was about Isabel coming to terms with what she did and realizing that she needed to confront the consequences of her actions. This makes for a fairly realistic plot with a rather boring ending that left me wanting just a bit more (although there’s a very hot sex scene near the end to compensate for it).
Overall this was another great story by an author that has become one of my favorites when it comes to romantic suspense. I think every fan of the genre will like this book and even though I had some complains about the plot and it took me a bit to warm up to the characters I ended up enjoying it and I think you will too.
Review by Brie
Wanted for the murder of a Mexican drug lord's son, party girl Isabel Sanborn fled to Oaxaca. Now she owes her life to Brandon Knox, a passing tourist who just saved her from a hit man.
But Knox is no accidental hero—he's an undercover U.S. marshal assigned to bring Isabel to justice. Instead, wanting to protect her, he joins her on the lam…with cartel goons and corrupt police in hot pursuit!
And as the danger escalates, sexual tension sizzles. For the first time in his career, Brandon considers jeopardizing his mission to safeguard his target. And though Isabel can elude the authorities, she can't escape her feelings….
Harlequin. September 20, 2011.