Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: "Do You Trust Me?" by Desiree Holt

Do You Trust Me?Do You Trust Me? by Desiree Holt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

GASP! There's a nekkid butt on the cover of the book - and I only noticed that now!? I think I need to schedule an appointment with my eye doctor. ;)

Romance novelist Sabrina "Rina" Devargas' life is turned upside down when a frantic call from her brother John has her flying from San Antonio, TX to his townhouse in Tampa, FL in order to retrieve their deceased mother's locket. Bad phone connection prevents her from understanding everything he says, and all she grasps before the call is dropped is that he's been betrayed by someone from his own black ops team so she must trust no one. It doesn't take long for Rina to find out that John has hidden a microchip inside the locket. Given his profession, there's no doubt in her mind that the microchip contains highly classified information and it's up to her to give it to the right person, but she doesn't know whom she can trust.

Connor McCall, John's black ops partner, is assigned to protect Rina when they realize that the bad guys John was investigating are after her and any info she might have. Having once shared an unforgettable night of passion with her, McCall finds it impossible to resist temptation and keep his hands off her, even though he knows that getting involved with her will certainly interfere with his ability to keep his mind on the job. He also knows that she's hiding something - namely, the info her brother has gathered to catch the bad guys - but while he's earned her trust in the bedroom, he's getting nowhere outside of it. With the bad guys closing in on Rina, McCall needs to gain her trust and ferret out the traitor in his team before it's too late...

The premise of this book is a common one in romantic suspense novels, but I was okay with it because I think that a good story is defined by its "details", not necessarily by its "formula". Unfortunately, this book had many problematic "details":

1. The plot had more holes than swiss cheese... What kind of idiot (Rina) wants to go home - and stay there like a sitting duck - when there are bad guys after her and they know where she lives? Why did McCall (and all his team, for that matter) agree with that and everything else Rina demanded, regardless of how dangerous it was? What kind of horn-dog (McCall) goes out to buy condoms and sex toys when he should be focusing on the job he had at hand? I have to say that McCall seemed to be quite incompetent. :( As for the identity of the traitor inside McCall's team, I guessed who he was pretty easily. No surprise there, which was disappointing because this is a romantic suspense novel. Now, to have Rina's friend Laurel to be in cahoots with the bad guys was a surprise. The unexpected connection was too contrived, though. I felt like Ms. Holt was playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with Rina replacing Mr. Bacon. To think that Rina would have been involved, even indirectly, in the same event her brother had given his life to prevent even if he hadn't left the microchip with her was too much of a coincidence.

2. I didn't like McCall. He was too cold for my taste, and dragging the revelation of the reason behind his fighting any emotional connection with Rina until the end of the book played against him. When his "secret" came out, I was past the point of caring.

3. I didn't like Rina. Simply put, she was TSTL (see item 1 above). The way she refused to cancel her previously scheduled and much advertised public appearances (book signings and interviews) made her look reckless, not brave. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I don't think that calling off a couple of book signings and rescheduling some interviews would ruin her career.

4. The romance between McCall and Rina didn't work for me. I never felt they were in love with each other. They were definitely in lust and had sex on their minds all the time, but they had almost no interaction outside the bedroom (because McCall needed to "keep his distance" in order to focus on the job) and that made me skeptic about their ILY in the end. As this is an erotica/romantica story, the sex scenes were plentiful and darn hot, but I must say that the first one was a bit cringe-worthy. On the funny side, McCall's volunteering to shave Rina - no, I'm not talking about her head - and his fixation on her "backdoor" could put some of Lora Leigh's heroes to shame. ;)

Ms. Holt's writing was good enough to keep me turning the pages without wanting to throw the Kindle against the wall - figuratively speaking, of course - and I read the whole book in two sittings, so not all was lost. Even though I didn't like this book, I'm not against giving her another try because I liked her writing style.

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