Getting Her Man, by Michele Albert

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I loved Michele Albert's books when she was writing as "Michelle Jerott", so luckily, I found out about the name change in time to order Getting Her Man.

Private Investigator Diana Belmaine always gets her man-- and her hunt for a brazen, clever thief leads the cool blonde straight to Dr. Jack Austin. A globetrotting adventurer and shoo-in for "America's Most Eligible Bachelor," Jack is a pillar of the community--and guilty as sin. But while his gorgeous smile could melt nearly any woman's resistance, she's learned her lesson about sweet-talking men and won't be swayed by Jack's obvious charms, no matter how much the criminally handsome hunk turns up the heat.

Jack is used to living life on the edge and is drawn to smart, sexy women with a bite--but this lady is wickedly dangerous! Diana's vow to expose his secret could cost him his livelihood, his reputation, perhaps even his life. He should keep his distance, though closing in on her tempting curves is a risk he can't resist. With nothing left to lose, his beautiful adversary his only salvation, why not surrender to fate and steal her heart with a deep, lingering...larcenous...kiss?
Getting Her Man wasn't perfect, but the good things about it were outstanding, enough to make me forget my prejudice against thief protagonists. Enough to get a very solid A-.

The best thing about it was the heroine, Diana. It's as if the author had looked at my list of common features of romance novels that irritate the hell out of me, and gone through it one by one, avoiding them!

So, instead of having a heroine whose brain turns to mush every single time the hero kisses her, we have one who manages to remain cool, even though it's not easy :-) Instead of a heroine who's alone in the world, we have one who has good, supportive female friends, who she calls when she needs advice or just to vent. Instead of a ninny who is a knock-out but believes she's ugly, we have one who knows she looks good and plays up her looks (and uses them to get what she wants!). Instead of someone who is completely uninterested in fashion (I'm a bit like that myself, but having all heroines be like that gets old fast), we have Diana who likes to engage in retail therapy at times.

And she's also confident, even a little arrogant and cocky, intelligent, takes no shit from anybody and is very, very good at her job. How could I not love this woman? She even has enough profesional integrity that she's determined to bust Jack if he's guilty, whatever happens between them. She's done it in the past, having her thieving former lover arrested, which I found refreshingly wonderful. Anyway, it's only when she realizes that something strange is going on that they she joins forces with Jack. This is definitely not an "I'm attracted to him, so he can't be guilty" kind of situation.

Jack was a good match for her. Charming and extremely yummy, he's got an Indiana Jones thing going on which I found very attractive, and I very much respected his reasons for doing what he was doing (yep, this is one of those books where the thief has a very noble reason for what he's doing). He wasn't an omnipotent alpha, with never a doubt about he was doing. Oh, no, he was pretty much terrified about what could happen if things went wrong, and he was respectful enough of Diana's abilities to get nervous about the threat she represented. She also made him really nervous as a woman, which I found endearing :-)

And when they were together... wow! The chemistry was beautifully done, as were the love scenes, and the way they bantered reminded me of JAK in her best books (huge compliment, coming from me). I especially appreciated the fact that there wasn't a proposal right away, but that it was shown in an epilogue, some months later, after the relationship had been given time to develop in more "normal" times.

And now for the bad. Basically, the main problem was that the story bogged down quite a bit near the end. It lost all sense of urgency, and for a while it was almost boring. I almost didn't give it an A-range grade because of it, but then I got thinking that I'd enjoyed the characters so much that I couldn't not give it a keeper grade.


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