Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: Smoke And Mirrors by Jenna Mills

Title: Smoke And Mirrors
Author: Jenna Mills

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: December 19, 2003
Publisher: Silhouette
ISBN: 0373272162
ISBN-13: 9780373272167

Undercover police officer Cassidy Blake's top priority was to infiltrate mercenary millionaire Derek Mansfield's life—and expose him. Cass expected to find a ruthless criminal; instead she found a darkly magnetic man whose bone-melting intensity blurred the line between her duty and her own desires.

Derek Mansfield had returned to Chicago to settle a score, not to become entangled in a seductive game of cat and mouse with intriguing Cass. But the secrets in her eyes and her searing kisses had made him hungry for more than revenge.

Could either of them risk their hearts in this perilous game of smoke and mirrors?

My rating:

One of Chicago's finest, Cassidy Blake, is this close to finishing another undercover mission. A mission that's been in motion for six months. Now, Derek Mansfield, hotel-owner bad boy and possible drug trafficker is back in town and Cass's alter ego, Cassandra LeBlanc has caught his eye.

This is a perfect opportunity for Cass to finally uncover that important evidence of Derek's involvement in a drug cartel, and finally put him where he belongs—behind bars. But Cass didn't count with the explosive attraction boiling between them, that would make her doubt her own judgment and put her career on the line.

Is Derek truly innocent, or did this daring cop become entangled in her own game of smoke and mirrors?

What a ride. I loved this story from beginning to end. The suspense was subtle, yet constantly hovering in the background, waiting to snake back in and surprise both the characters and the reader. The attraction and sexual tension between the hero and heroine was tangible, and when they finally gave in to the pull the release was an explosive, set-the-sheets-on-fire display of passion.

The little, wicked game of cat and mouse they had going on was intriguing, attention-grabbing, and promised it wouldn't end well. And it delivered on the promise. When the deception was revealed, the whiplash was shocking and damaging. I actually couldn't choose sides in this one, I could relate with both of them, could understand both of them, their doubts, their fears, their anguish.
This strange, unorthodox love story was amazingly written, refined and delicate, subtle and guns-blazing all at the same time.

The mystery was designed to keep the reader in its grip, showing us little peeks and clues, keeping us guessing, making us doubt both the hero and the heroine, skirting that sharp edge between good and bad with a whole lot of gray area around it.

This story truly was a whole package. Great characters (I loved how they both carried their share of darkness), intrigue, mystery, great chemistry and attraction, while the romance slowly grew, blooming toward the end, wonderfully hot sex scenes, and a nice bonus action scene in the end.
Straight to the keeper shelf!


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