Author: Linda Turner
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 1, 2009
Special agent Patrick O'Reilly was determined not to let Mackenzie Sloan's good looks sway him from his task. The woman's innocent persona didn't mean she wasn't involved in illegal activities. And after keeping track of her day—and night—for weeks, he'd almost convinced himself his interest was all part of his job.
When the case placed Mackenzie in danger, he could no longer deny his duty had turned to desire. He'd lay down his own life to protect this woman. But laying down his embattled heart might be the truest test of his resolve.
Mackenzie Sloan, running her father’s antique shop after his death, is pleasantly surprised when her shop door opens and a customer not pushing sixty enters. The customer actually looks more to be in his thirties, with dark hair and laughing green eyes. And the stud muffin, Patrick O’Reilly, is even a history major. Yum! The pleasure of the encounter is gone when he reveals to be a Special Agent for the National Archives and accuses her father of stealing the Archive documents and her of selling them on eBay. She did sell them, but she had no idea they were stolen. And her father was not a thief!
Set on proving her and her father’s innocence, Mac quickly accomplishes that feat when her shop is broken into the next day and her father’s receipts of purchase are stolen. Now, Patrick is finally convinced of her innocence, but still adamant in continuing his investigation. And Mac is more than willing to help.
This was a light-weight, sweet, quickie of a read with a seasonal background of D.C. just before Christmas. The characters were nicely-developed, utterly likable and though carting huge emotional scars and baggage that made them just more realistic and didn’t impede them from actually seeking comfort in each other (no matter Patrick’s misgivings).
The plot was well thought out, the pacing steady and the story flowed effortlessly. The suspense, though with absolutely no mortal peril, or huge action scenes, was still gripping, piggybacking on the investigation into the stolen antiques.
The few side stories (Mac’s painful memories, Patrick’s former marriage, Mac’s friend’s pregnancy, Patrick’s matchmaking mother) released some of the "tension", giving this story a few more dimensions, and the romance was built just right, slowly escalating and morphing. The only thing that bothered me was my reaction to the one-on-one (love) scenes between Mac and Patrick. They weren’t blink-and-you-miss-it, but I found myself somehow drifting away, until it was over. I guess they just weren’t written and worded "right" and always snuck by me. I didn’t realize they’ve actually kissed until the next chapter when they couldn’t stop thinking about it. Oops.
That little hiccup aside, this was a wonderful story with two great characters (I absolutely loved Patrick), wonderful dialogs, great family and friends, and an intriguing case involving stolen items from the American history.