An Aussie Treasure Hunter with deep dark secrets, a feisty Italian gourmet cook, and a conniving monk who are all in a race for a sunk treasure. Oh yes! I had to read this one. I already enjoyed a previous adventure by this author so I dove right in.
The story opens when Rosalina lays down an ultimatum to Archer. They have been together for three years with him running his treasure hunting business and Rosalina the cook on his yacht. Rosalina knows Archer has secrets and it hurts her that after all this time, he won’t open up and trust her. Archer sees the frustration in Rosalina and knew the time would come that he would have to end things with her because he doesn’t deserve love after what happened in his past. He loves her just as she loves him, but he silently watches her leave.
It has been several months and Rosalina has returned home to Italy where she is just going through the motions. Right about the time, she decides to move on with her interested childhood friend, she makes a discovery in a church that may or may not be a clue to Archer’s past. She angrily contacts him and that brings him to her. She has inadvertently set in motion the hunt for a 700 year old treasure. Archer’s arrival frustrates her because she still loves him, but is determined not to let him break her heart again. Archer has learned what it is to live with a huge lonely hole in his heart with the loss of Rosalina so he will use this hunt to be his chance to win her back.
Archer and Rosalina aren’t the only two in the hunt. Nox, a dark and determined nemesis, is determined to have the treasure and will ruthlessly do whatever it takes to get it. He lurks in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to strike. Archer’s quest is about more than the treasure and is a personal journey to lay aside the ghosts of his past. He will do whatever it takes to protect those on his team and stop Nox.
This one begins dramatically with a scene from Archer’s past showing the horrific event that has shaped him and made him the way he is. Then it moves to another dramatic scene where the lovers separate. It was interesting having the story begin with a break-up because at that point I wasn’t vested in the characters so I didn’t feel the impact of their parting. I hate break-ups so I was actually okay with that.
The next part of the story was my least favorite because Rosalina and Archer took turns driving me nuts ironing out their issues. Mostly it was Rosalina blowing hot and cold because Archer closed her out of his past and let her walk away. She jumped to conclusions that he thought little of her because he wouldn’t spill his guts and he let guilt create a barrier to his own happiness. Even after he came clean, she continued a love triangle situation that brought another guy’s feelings into play when she knew full well that she was just using him as a buffer against Archer.
But then things got going when the race for the treasure took over. I loved how the author wove in the hunt for the answers to Archer’s past with the treasure hunt and in turn, the romance grew and heated up as well. I was fully engaged at this point and loved the build of excitement and the increased pace. There were some good twists. The story wrapped up nicely, but left me eager to continue the series, hopefully with more treasure hunts.
On a side note, this is also a foodie lover’s story. Rosalina’s food had me licking my lips and made me soooo hungry. The author wrote a companion recipe book, Rosalina’s Treasured Treats to this story with all the recipes and snippets from the book.
All in all, it was an exciting, delightful treasure hunt romance. I loved the international settings including the time on Archer’s luxury yacht. The romance is steamy and the partnership of treasure hunters was a fun crew. Contemporary Romance fans might want to give this a go.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #297
New to Me #128 series
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