Author: Andrea Kane
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 15, 2001
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing
Something is wrong with teacher Julia Talbot's favorite second-grader, the mayor's son Brian. Seeing the outgoing little boy become increasingly anxious and withdrawn, she suspects problems at home, inside the mansion of a high-profile political family. But even Julia doesn't know the real truth. Venture capitalist Connor Stratford, the boy's powerful uncle, does.
Intrigued by Julia, Connor plans a campaign of seduction designed to keep her from snooping — and to get her into his bed. Yet Julia has already learned too much. As danger bears down on her like a runaway freight train, Brian vanishes, and a desperate hunt to find him draws Julia deeper into a family's secrets and an irresistible passion — and closer to a place where a child's future, and her own fate, hang in the balance.
Another great AK read, though it did drag a little in the first 20 chapters or so, and the initial reason for the story (the concern for the well-being of a little boy) got on a little too long. Once that “connection” was made, it would’ve been better to go on to the romantic suspense part of the story, instead of the continued psychoanalysis of the kid, who, in my opinion, was just a tad too spoiled and resenting not being at the center of attention anymore.
Okay, let’s thrust that issue aside, and concentrate on the rest of the novel. Yes, the pacing was a bit wobbly, and it could’ve been a couple of chapters shorter, since things got a bit repetitive overtime, but overall, it was a great story. Intriguing and sexy, and even rather suspenseful in the last couple of chapters. And once again, AK did a great job at blending the romance into the story, so it didn’t stand out, and it wasn’t pushed into the background.
And I absolutely loved the hero, though there was some doubt as to his motives at the beginning, but once he got involved, he got “involved” and there was no ulterior motive to his actions and words...Not that the heroine wanted to believe that.
And that’s another little hiccup for me - the heroine. I just didn’t understand her at first (and even later, when she actually turned out to be human and likeable, I still didn’t get her initial behavior) - her idealism got on my nerves, her head-in-the-sand routine was annoying...And I just didn’t understand what made her tick - I still don’t, but once she got over her hang-ups, she grew on me.
Beside the romance and the suspense, this was also a good little insight into the life in the public eye and the pressures parents put on their children - and the result of that pressure on children not strong enough to handle it.
Though everything could’ve been resolved with an honest talk, everybody kept a tight lid on the truth, creating rather unnecessary tension and conflict, turning the heroine into a busybody, and prolonging the before-mentioned psychoanalysis of the kid, that though it started the story, really wasn’t the gist of it, though some might think it was thanks to pages and pages of focus.
I just realize I’m rambling, so I’ll finish in a concise manner. It could’ve been better, but it was still better than many books that pass for romantic suspense out there. It actually had a plot. And it was a pretty tight one. It circled a lot, but it got the job done. Loved it.