Dangerous Lover, by Lisa Marie Rice

>> Thursday, August 02, 2007

TITLE: Dangerous Lover (ebook: here)
AUTHOR: Lisa Marie Rice

PAGES: 352

SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Straight romance

REASON FOR READING: I've been anticipating reading this book ever since I first heard of it. I loved LMR's ebooks and I wish her backlist wasn't so short. Midnight Angel and Woman on the Run have become particular favourites and I've reread them again and again.

"I don't want to be alone tonight."

Caroline Lake can hardly believe she would ever say these words to someone she'd never met before. When a tall, dark stranger arrives wanting to rent a room in her beautiful empty shell of a mansion, she hesitates. Though she is in dire financial straits, the man looks dangerous-dangerously sexy. She's overwhelmed by the desire he sparks in her-hotter than anything she's ever felt before, making her ache to experience his sensuous touch. But who is this armed and mysterious man with danger following in his wake? He's not what she thinks he is...

Jack Prescott has wanted Caroline forever. He has spent the past twelve years dreaming of her, desiring her, while fighting in some of the worst hellholes on earth. Now he's back, with $20 million dollars in blood diamonds and a relentless enemy stalking him. But this time Jack's determined nothing will stop him from finally making Caroline his.
THE PLOT: Caroline and Jack first met twelve years earlier, when he was living with his father in a shelter. She and her well-to-do family visited the shelter a few times, and Jack fell hard for this young woman who treated him kindly.

Twelve years later, Jack is still obsessed with this first love of his. And now that the man who became his father in later years is dead, and Jack has no responsibility towards him anymore, he can go back and see if he could have a shot with Caroline.

These days, Caroline is far from the golden girl she was in earlier years. She's endured a lot of tragedy in her past and her financial burdens are still dragging her down. She doesn't know why her sexy new boarder would be attracted to her, sad sack that she is, but he is, and she needs what he's offering.

MY THOUGHTS: I don't know how LMR does it, but wow! Her alpha hero was just amazing, and even more amazing is the fact that I, a total non-fan of the typical alpha, loved him. It should be a bit creepy and scary, but Jack's total and complete focus on Caroline comes across as sexy, not creepy. LMR makes obsession hot *g*

How can I love such a total, dominating and unrepentant alpha? I think it might be because it's clear from the very beginning that Jack would rather die than cause Caroline even a mildly unpleasant feeling. He's possessive, yes, but at the same time, he's fully and completely Caroline's, and he accepts this.

Usually, I don't like it when the hero is the one that's always in control and does what he want with the heroine. But Jack... I should have been turned off by his manipulations to make sure she's not scared by him and will accept him as a boarder, the way he strategizes to make bonds develop between them, so that there's a smaller chance that she'll kick him out later. But this guy is not in control, not really. It's Caroline who has the power over him. All his careful manipulation is because he doesn't think he has any chance of winning her if he doesn't do this. He doesn't really believe she could ever really love him, so it was beautiful to see when she actually DID.

I liked Caroline. She's a very vulnerable and sad figure here, but she's a strong woman. This is something that Jack understands perfectly: the courage it takes to go through what she did, not just the death of her parents, but the 6 years of caring for her brother and basically watching him die without falling apart, all the while trying to keep his spirits up.

And this understanding of his was what made me buy that what he felt for her was love. He sees the woman Caroline is now very clearly, and it's with her that he falls in love.

Most of the book is Jack and Caroline alone in her house during the weekend, not quite snowed in, but almost. But thoroughout the book there's a sense of growing menace as a man who's after some blood diamonds Jack took from him in Sierra Leone (don't worry, Jack's blameless here) gets nearer and nearer. This subplot was actually quite interesting, even if I kept wanting to go back to read about J & C during those sections.

LMR creates some very good villains and suspense subplots that feel fresh. Deaver was evil, but evil in a way that I could understand and recognize. He's not insane or evil just because he's evil and likes to cause suffering. He's simply someone who doesn't have the morals to stop him doing anything to make a comfortable life for himself. And Sanders, Caroline's former on-and-off boyfriend is another horrible, horrible person who's nonetheless believable and recognizable. As for the details from the past in Sierra Leone, they were just heartbreaking. Heartbreaking and fascinating, at the same time.

As much as I loved most of the book, there were a few flaws. The most minor of them was the brand dropping. I thought the author went a bit overboard with it. There were quite a few times in which she started to list what someone bought or what someone ate in such minute detail that I just zoned out. It was excessive... think JR Ward at her worst and increase it a little bit.

But the bigger problem was the ending, which was much too abrupt. We're in the middle of an action scene and wham! the end! I'm not asking for a mammoth epilogue showing them surrounded by all their children, but I'd have appreciated a bit more here. Most especially, I would have liked more development of the big moment of revelation, which was something I'd been anticipating throughout the whole book. I guess I felt a little bit shortchanged in this area.

Also on the ending, I wasn't completely comfortable with what happened with the diamonds. It's not that they went to a bad purpose, or one that wasn't worthy on its own. It's just that in my eyes, this was wealth belonging to the people of Sierra Leone, and I firmly believe that it should have gone to alleviate their suffering.

MY GRADE: A B+. With a few more pages there at the end, it would have been in A territory.


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