Flirting With Danger, by Suzanne Enoch

>> Thursday, April 06, 2006

book coverI have not liked Suzanne Enoch's historicals that I've tried, but I read quite a few reports from people who felt the same way as I did, and yet liked her first contemporary: Flirting With Danger (excerpt). This book starts a series that will follow the same characters, à la the In Death books, and I've actually seen Samantha and Richard compared to Eve and Roarke themselves.

Playing With Fire Will Get A Girl burned ...

The Palm Beach job should have been a slam dunk for thief extraordinaire Samantha Jellicoe: relieve a British playboy millionaire of a priceless antiquity. But when an explosion throws her into the arms of said playboy Rick Addison, even a pro like Sam has to review the rules ...

A Bad Girl's Guide To Flirting ...

  • Always wear black when breaking and entering -- it's both practical and slimming.

  • When asking a sexy multi-millionaire for help in clearing your name of murder, try dropping in through his skylight to get his attention.

  • You may consider staying in his mansion for "protection" but beware -- hidden grenades can spoil any bedroom fun.

  • For car chases and evading bad guys, take his Bentley Continental GT -- it has a roomy backseat.

  • Should he propose a legitimate partnership, make sure you really want to leave that life of crime behind. It also wouldn't hurt to keep the black dress handy, in case you change your mind ..
Even with the positive recs, I went into FWD with low expectations. It wasn't just my previous experience with the author, but the fact that I tend to have a problem with having a thief as one of the protagonists. Either I spend too much time shaking my head at the character and telling him (or her) that what he's doing is just wrong if he is remorseless about it and steals just because, or, if the author has gone out of her way to justify why he has to steal, I find the contortions a bit ridiculous. So I was surprised by how much I liked FWD: a B+.

Why surprised? Because Samantha very definitely falls into the first category, and I was able to accept it just fine in this book. She doesn't steal because she's being blackmailed into doing so by the villain, or because she needs money to pay for an operation for her little sister who has a very rare disease, or anything like that. She does so because it's what she's good at and because she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and she doesn't apologize for it.

That I liked her anyway doesn't mean that this didn't bother me, but I think that having Richard there stating many of my objections gave me leave to like the book, if it makes sense. However, I liked that knowing Sam is a thief didn't make Richard punish her or treat her badly. It did take him a little while to trust her, but the main effect that it had on him was that he worried that Sam's past might catch up with her, and it made him even more determined to protect this woman he was becoming more and more fond of.

The book's setup is simple: while trying to steal something from Richard's house, Sam manages to foil an attempt on his life which was supposed to get blamed on her. She contacts him, and they decide to work together to find the truth, and for that purpose they spend most of the book sequestered in Richard's mansion. This means the two of them get to spend some major time together, and this works wonderfully to show how their feelings develop. Sam and Richard have some of the best chemistry I've read lately. Their scenes together are fun and steamy and full of banter, and by the end of the book, I totally bought that they were in love.

Oh, and what about the Eve and Roarke comparisons? Were they on target? Well, not really. I mean, there are some similarities... the hero is a total too-good-to-be-true European, billionaire dream guy and the heroine is one strong woman. And of course, the two will star in a series of their own. But that's about it, Sam and Richard were completely their own people. I didn't get the feeling Enoch was copying anything, nor did I feel she was trying to make things as different from what Robb made them as possible (which would be as derivative as the first option).

The next book in the series is Don't Look Down, and I'm looking forward to it!


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