My rating: 4 of 5 stars
He could do that to her, and for her, she realized. He could open little pockets of peace.
The second book in the In-Death series didn’t disappoint. If the first one blew me away with its originality and characters (Roarke, anyone?), this second was a solid sequel. The only reason I gave it one star less was because of the case itself, which I found less interesting, especially because of Roarke’s low involvement in it. Or, more properly, at first his involvement mirrored a lot the role he’d had during the first book’s investigation, but it was clear it was just a way to cause some friction between the two character, a thing I highly appreciated. Their disagreements, fights, and then making up were very human and added a healthy dose of realism to their relationship.
Also, the fact that Eve was the first to cave in was a good thing IMO. Roarke is always very accomodating with her. He knows it’s not easy for her to open up, to let someone in. So for Eve to admit that she needs him, that she wants to be with him was a huge step in their relationship.
I’m not going into detail as far as the mystery is concerned, but will only say that I loved how there were so many possible suspects and that, in the end, I hadn’t expected the murdered to be who it was after all.
“It’s always a pleasure watching you wake up,” he commented. “But sometimes I wonder if you want me only for my coffee.”
“Well…” She grinned at him and sipped again. “I really like the food, too. And the sex isn’t bad.”
“You seemed to tolerate it fairly well last night.”
On the negative side, I would kill (pun unintended) for longer endings… an epilogue would be perfect. Although here the ending surprised me (in a series of 40+ books, I’d imagined things between the two MC would move not quite so fast), the mystery was the main focus.
Regarding the romance, always my favorite part, I simply adore how Roarke is the main pursuer in their relationship (it reminds me of Cat and Bones in the first books) and how willing he is to expose his vulnerability to her, sometimes only to be hurt or rejected. It takes a strong, confident man to do that.
“Don’t play games with me, Roarke.”
“Eve, it’s my fondest wish to do just that.”
I think this was my favorite scene in the whole book:
“It makes me feel like an idiot. This whole thing makes me feel like an idiot. So fine; I’ll be an idiot. I’ll move in here. I’ll tolerate that insulting robot you call a butler. I’ll wear diamonds. Just don’t — ” She broke, covering her face as the sobs took over. “I can’t take this anymore.”
“Don’t. For Christ’s sake, don’t cry.”
“I’m just tired.” She rocked herself for comfort. “I’m just tired, that’s all.”
“Call me names.” He rose, shaken and more than a little terrified by the storm of weeping. “Throw something. Take a swing at me.”
She jerked back when he reached for her. “Don’t. I need a minute when I’m making a fool of myself.”
Ignoring her, he gathered her close. She pulled back twice, was brought back firmly against him. Then, in a desperate move, her arms came around him, clutched. “Don’t go away.” She pressed her face to his shoulder. “Don’t go away.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Gently, he stroked her back, cradled her head. Was there anything more astounding or more frightening to a man, he wondered, than a strong woman in tears? “I’ve been right here all along. I love you, Eve, almost more than I can stand.”
“I need you. I can’t help it. I don’t want to.”
“I know.” He eased back, tucking a hand under her chin to lift her face to his. “We’re going to have to deal with it.”
One last thing, even though the hot scenes aren’t overly graphic, there was one in a oasis/swimming pool that had me fanning myself and then blush along with Roarke 🙂 He’s so damn cute!!!! I mean, read this:
“I missed you.” She pressed her cheek to his and held him tightly. “I really missed you. I wore one of your shirts.” She could laugh at herself now because he was here. She could smell him, touch him. “I actually went into your closet and stole one of your shirts — one of the black silk ones you have dozens of. I put it on, then snuck out of the house like a thief so Summerset wouldn’t catch me.”
Absurdly touched, he nuzzled her neck. “At night, I’d play your transmissions over, just so I could look at you, hear your voice.”
“Really?” She giggled, a rare sound from her. “God, Roarke, we’ve gotten so sappy.”