This wonderful pair of stories revolves around characters that are part of the complex and challenging world of the private investigator. In fact, Josh January is the owner of his own security company and he is a very successful Private Eye. So successful that at the beginning of this fun tale, Josh is nursing bruised ribs, a sprained ankle and other assorted injuries, resulting from a case that turned rough right before the end. What does Josh need now? A month or so of relaxation to recover his strength and work on his novel! What does Josh get? An invitation to help the proprietress of Peregrine Manor; in exchange for room and board (and scones at 3:00pm) Josh is to assist by investigating an ongoing problem. It sounds like the perfect answer to Josh's present needs!
For Maggie Gladstone, the arrival of Private Investigator Josh January is a mixed blessing. He's not what she expected at all - he's on crutches, rather bad tempered and turns her on! Josh is pleasantly surprised to find that his temporary boss is a gorgeous, opinionated, smart-mouthed woman, who obviously finds him a bit of an enigma, but needs his help. In true Krentz style, Josh and Maggie heat up the Manor in next to no time, regardless of Josh's sore ribs! The other residents, a wonderfully motley bunch of seniors, lend some definite color to this story - fleshing out the affair between Maggie and Josh with their delightful eccentricities. Needless to say Josh solves the case and gets the girl in the best detective/hero style, but don't mistake this story as a simple romance - it possesses a well-thought-out plot and excellent pacing, not to mention the hot romance! All the Krentz trademarks are bubbling in this book - it's wonderful.
A murdered twin, an abandoned woman who has been injured in a deliberate auto crash, and a teenager struggling with an alcoholic mother - these do not sound like Lori Foster story elements! But in Beguiled Ms. Foster introduces us to all of these folks, and then blends them seamlessly into a tale of love and triumph over adversity. Dane and Derek Carter were never close even though they were identical twins. So when Derek is killed, Dane suffers doubly - from the loss of his brother and from the knowledge that he should have spent more time with him. Surprisingly, a woman from Derek's past appears in Dane's office - not knowing he's Derek's twin. Angel Morris is desperate for help, and although she has no reason to, she thinks the only person she may be able to trust is Derek Carter - the man who took her virginity and gave her a son! For complex business reasons, Dane is masquerading as Derek, but it's no pretend bolt of heat that sizzles his gut when he meets and touches Angel. The love affair that develops between these two is amazing - Angel is continually dumbfounded by "Derek's" caring and growing attachment to baby Grayson. Dane, for his part, can't wait to hear his own name on this woman's lips - he's coming to realize how important she is to his life and his sanity.
Many classic Foster elements are in play here - the sensuality level explodes between Dane and Angel, and is well-matched by the taut plot and secondary characters. Mick Dawson, struggling teen, has been Angel's helper/guardian/friend, and it is lovely to see the beginnings of a fine young man emerge from a difficult environment. Dane's family is crisply drawn, from the aging and stubborn matriarch, through his sister Celia and his friend and co-worker Alec Sharpe. Dane, owning his own private investigations company, has the facilities to track down the nefarious schemes at hand, but even he and Alec cannot save the day. It's up to another to do that! For Foster fans, this is a must-read, for any romance fan it's a wonderfully uplifting and loving story. (I note that Alec Sharpe and Celia Carter are the stars of Wanton>/b> and Mick Dawson is featured in his own book, Caught In the Act. Both are super books and are highly recommended.)
This book has been on my shelves for a couple of years now, and when I picked it up to re-read it for this review, I realized that a couple of the pages were actually getting loose - I have come back to enjoy these stories so many times. I don't have any better recommendation than that!