A tomb raider who lies for fun and definitely for profit becomes entangled with a straight arrow academic surrounded by dangerous shadows when he brings back a powerful Ancient Egyptian artifact that he is willing to let go to the highest bidder. Lowe Magnusson, younger brother to the powerful bootlegger, Winter Magnusson, arrives home safely with Miss Hadley Bacall in tow after fighting off attackers a few times not even sure who has put him on their hit list since more than one person might not have appreciated his less than honest activities of the past. He has the goods this time and one last big con ought to do the trick to get him square with everyone. It will involve some successful lies, a good forgery and a lot of luck. Lowe’s full of luck.
Hadley has confirmed that the amulet that the scruffy, silver-tongued Lowe is carrying is the real deal since she can sense the dark energy emanating from it, but she also senses that he’s up to something. That being said, he confuses her. Lowe is attracted to her and touches her like he wants her. No man has every looked on her like that and her own touch phobia has kept people at a distance. For the first time in her life, she wants a man to get past her guard even if he might be a scoundrel. It’s not too many days later that she finds herself teaming up with the guy after her father derails all her life plans with one announcement. Her father has hired him to find the rest of the pieces to the amulet that her deceased mother hid away and has dangled the carrot of the museum directorship out as incentive. Lowe gives her the score and promises that he will make sure she gets the job if she will work with him to decipher her mother’s clues to the other four pieces to the amulet. Hadley slowly trusts and tentatively opens herself up to Lowe as they share their secrets and their desires. Can she really trust an accomplished liar to be telling her the truth?
Lowe’s plans to trick Dr. Bacall with a forgery undergo a reversal once he knows what’s at stake and as he grows closer to Hadley through their treasure hunt. He can’t let her know about the previous plans because having Hadley think well of him has become important along with getting the completed amulet into the right hands. His net of lies grows tighter around him as he ducks the man he needs to pay off and as someone is extremely determined that Lowe and Hadley never succeed at assembling the pieces. It’s only a matter of time before Lowe’s luck runs out.
This book was so different from the first one and yet equally engaging. Lowe is the reason. His story reflects his personality. There are still many of the elements that grabbed my attention in the first one: exciting storyline, well-drawn characters, strong and authentic historical backdrop, and unique paranormal elements. However, it is all fresh in a new story that shows a different aspect of all these things.
Winter and Aida as well as Astrid and Bo are present in the background as are the speakeasy and psychic stuff from the first book, but now the focus is archaeology and ancient curses. It could be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the two books in order so the secondary characters and their ongoing storylines make sense.
It’s an opposites attract romance with Lowe, a fly by the seat of his pants shady character, and Hadley, a San Francisco blue-blood academic. Hadley brings out Lowe’s finer points and he breaks through her ice to show her how to live and love. Trust and lies are at the foundation of their relationship as well as guilt and forgiveness. The historic twenties backdrop, treasure hunting adventure and paranormal aspects were just a plus. I love the strong passion between the two characters and that they are filled with both heroic points and flaws to make them relate-able. Waiting for Lowe’s lies and the bad guys to catch up with them added some good tension. Hadley had some big issues to work through so I was pleased at the pace their relationship took. Hadley wanted to be treated as an intelligent, independent woman and Lowe did that, but he also worked hard to get her through her past and phobias. Not that this stopped him from focusing his efforts on working her out of her clothes and into his willing arms. Lowe was such a handsome and loveable scoundrel.
Other special mentions are the bits and bobs: Lowe’s missing finger that always made for a good story, darling child Stella, Hadley’s personally designed sexy lingerie that hid under her frigid unflattering black gowns, Number Four the cat who cheated death so many times and Lulu the Indian motorcycle that was Lowe’s pride and joy. And, it was great to check in with the other players in the story, but it just makes me hope that Astrid and Bo get their story.
All in all, it was a solid second story in the series and I loved the way everything worked together. I recommend this one for those who love a blended genre fast-paced, spicy historical paranormal romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for my honest review.
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