Deadly Temptation by Justine Davis is a romantic suspense novel that is an early ebook release from eHarlequin.com. Deadly Temptation opens with Liana Kiley starting her first day at work for the renowned Redstone Empire. The owner of the company is gazillionaire, Josh Redstone, who goes by “Josh” and not “Mr. Redstone.” The motto at the Redstone company is that everybody is to be treated like “family.” Loyalty is also another Redstone trademark, too. Turn over is low and everybody is friendly and helpful. While settling into her new job as assistant to the department head, Liana glances at the morning newspaper and recognizes a familiar face. Her frown attracts the attention of her boss while he’s making his daily rounds about the company.
Josh notices that the newspaper article has greatly upset Liana and he immediately gives her a shoulder to lean on and encourages her to spill it. It seems that a cop that Liana once knew some 8 years prior has fallen into disgrace. Liana manages to persuade her eccentric boss to use his elite Redstone security team to look into the matter. It doesn’t take long before one of the security advisers looks into the case and has already tracked down their target. Only thing is that the target doesn’t want to be found.
Logan Beck used to be the golden child of the police department. A dedicated cop, Logan went after his dream despite the fact that he knew that it disappointed his father. Logan rose quickly within the department going from detective to narcotics officer in three years. Logan was able to infiltrate a drug operation that was responsible for one cop’s death. As high as he was able to climb, Logan fell far. Accused of being a dirty cop, Logan’s cover has been blown and he’s being accused of accepting drug money. A year’s worth of work blown and his life compromised by the department. Logan suspects a set-up but doesn’t seem interested in proving it.
As for the romance part of the story, Liana and Logan do share a brief history. Both were victims in a deadly bank robbery. Logan saved her life and nearly died in the process. While Liana was blinded by his heroic actions, the evil fiancée never visited Logan when he was hospitalized. Alone and abandoned, Logan still sulks about it. With the IA investigation and his own colleagues turning against him, he starts developing a defeatist attitude. His only ally is Liana, who is 100% convinced of his innocence and pushes him to fight the charges. However, Liana’s blind to the man that Logan is today compared to the hero she met 8 years ago. It’s the main conflict in their relationship.
While this story was well written it was riddled with little annoyances. First, Liana being convinced that Logan was innocent. She only knew him briefly. They both shared an intense situation that they wouldn’t soon forget but she hadn’t seen or talked to Logan in 8 years. Second, repetitive themes and phrases of “loyalty” and “we are a family” were annoying. Third, I got tired of Logan’s self-pity party. He had zero interest to fight the charges against him and it wasn’t until well after the ninth chapter that he started to show some backbone. Before that he was hard-headed and stubborn and refused any help whatsoever. Fourth, the constant reminders of Liana being this “girl next door” and being “naive”–hey, I get it. Lastly, Logan has a couple of brain farts. For instance, since Logan’s been outed, he reluctantly agrees to stay with Liana. Instead of letting the security expert (an unknown face) go into his old neighborhood to get his notes, clothing and such, he wants to do it himself (despite having a familiar face with a lovely bounty on his head). Unfortunately, Logan does decide to see reason. I was hoping he’d get capped crossing the street: end of story (my sanity restored).
Justine Davis is a favorite but this story was a huge disappointment. The writing was fine, however, it was the characters and the plot that were the biggest problems for me. Dialogue was rather sophomoric and stilted, too. I didn’t really care about Liana or Logan. They both seemed a well matched pair but I didn’t warm up to them. I was irked with the whole Redstone reputation and their “we are family” mantra where everybody gets along crap. However, there was a glimmer of hope that maybe this book would be salvageable after all when Logan and Liana are reunited after 8 years. I was really into them reminiscing about the past. Their intimacy was nice but it didn’t last long. Alas, the magic fizzled and it kind of went bad from there. I ended up getting a tension headache after reading this book.
After swallowing a couple of Advil’s, I felt good enough to look up some of my keepers from Davis’ backlist. Justine Davis wrote several books that were keepers for me throughout the 90’s. For some really great reading, I recommend you find The Skypirate, Lord of the Storm, A Whole Lot of Love and Stevie’s Chase just to get you started. Deadly Temptation, while not a completely terrible read, it just doesn’t hold a candle to her backlist. AAR may even have some reviews up for some of those titles. Deadly Temptation was apart of my 30% off buying spree. My grade, C-. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
[tags]Justine Davis, Deadly Temptation (Silhouette Romantic Suspense), Romance[/tags]