I was hooked when I knew this was a jewel heist caper involving a blue diamond, terrorists, an American girl on tour and a sexy Interpol agent set in Italy. Okay so they had me at ‘Italy’, but the rest is just frosting on the cake, right?
The story opens with Lexi Cortese visiting Rome and getting in touch with her roots in an attempt to get over the betrayal of her ex-fiancé and turn over a new leaf in her life. A shopping trip in Rome and the purchase of an expensive fashionable green leather purse helps the process along. Lexi has her purse stolen by a thief and returned by a handsome Italian businessman who seems as smitten by her as she is by him. However, getting a chance to enjoy Dominic’s company is hard when attempted muggings, ransacked room, being followed by cold-eyed men, murders and Dominic’s frequent disappearances all conspire to separate them. Dominic rescues her more than once and the interest deepens to attraction, but can she trust him?
Dominic Brioni is an Interpol agent trying to live down one big mistake in his past. He got too emotionally involved with a woman that was part of his job and she betrayed him. Now another woman is part of his job. Is she just the innocent American tourist in the wrong place at the wrong time or is she really good at hiding her connections to the criminals who took the diamond to sell it to terrorists who will use it to by nuclear grade plutonium. The coincidences stack up and he really can’t decide. His gut tells him she’s innocent, but going by his emotions is what got him in trouble before.
The plot on this one was all the blurb promised. I had a good time with Lexi’s misadventures in Italy and all the mention of Italian food nearly killed me with craving. I liked the romance aspect too. Lexi and Dominic helped each other beat their pasts.
That being said, I liked the story, but I wasn’t captivated. It was probably a combination of things. The story allows the reader to know about the diamond and why everyone including the crooks are chasing Lexi so having all the knowledge up front made the story lose some edge. The adventure was still there, but not the twisty suspense or a build up of tension. I would have liked it more if I had been as clueless as Lexi as to why everyone was attacking her or ransacking her room or running her off the road.
Then there was the fact that Lexi was pretty naive. I loved that she was with Dominic, but I couldn’t get past the fact that she basically knew nothing about the guy other than he rescued her purse before she jumps into the deep end of the pool with him. I get the whole embrace a new life and have adventures, but safety first. She goes out with him which was daring, but it was a public place so no biggie, but its what came afterward. She let’s him escort her back to her hotel alone which also let’s him know exactly where she’s staying, meets up with him a few more times admitting that she knows nothing about him and has her suspicions that he isn’t totally honest with her and then caps it all off by agreeing to a day trip with him to the country to visit a few small towns, again alone. Dominic is a good guy, but she doesn’t know this. Then later after she knows she’s in danger, she starts wandering the streets of Rome alone at night practically signally in neon lights that she wants to be mugged and killed. Even without jewel thieves on her tail that isn’t a bright idea for a young woman alone who admits to no self-defense training. It was distracting and left me not very pleased with the character of Lexi. Dominic was a bit easier to embrace in that he is the brooding, conflicted hero coming to the rescue and loving Lexi.
So in the end, I liked it, but didn’t love it. Alexi’s Roman Holiday adventure was fun and I loved that she got some romance out of it. I would recommend this for someone who is looking for a light only slightly spicy Romantic Suspense.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review.