Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Charmed and Dangerous - Lori Wilde (Forever - July 2004)

Former Olympian Maddie Cooper keeps her trim, taut body in great shape...and her heart safe from any man. Until her thrill-seeking twin, Cassie, gets in big trouble and Maddie has to come to her rescue-again!

FBI agent David Marshall has a big headache and all because of two women. He'd enlisted Cassie in a sting operation, but she's disappeared among art thieves and forgers. Now, determined to find her sister, Maddie charges furiously into the picture, sticking to his side and making him tingle in all the right places.

But David knows just how to take back control. First, locate Cassie. Second, reclaim the stolen masterpieces. Third, figure out how to put Maddie's fears about men to bed...and get her delectable self into his.

Very fun book to read. Maddie has been watching out for her twin sister since they were kids. Maddie is the responsible one, while Cassie tends to be impetuous. When Maddie discovers that Cassie is missing and has been working with FBI agent David Marshall, she is determined to stick with him until Cassie is found. David has been chasing after the same art thief for ten years, and when he recruits the thief's latest girlfriend he is going against orders from his superior. He feels a little guilty when she disappears, but all is fair in the long run.

When Cassie doesn't show up for a meeting with David, it is the beginning of a rather madcap adventure. Instead, David mistakes Maddie for Cassie, when Maddie had also been planning to meet up with Cassie. There is an immediate clash between the two, as Maddie insists on being involved in finding her sister. David isn't at all happy about the idea and makes it clear she isn't welcome. There's a great scene at the airport when David tries to keep Maddie from going with him and Maddie uses a sneaky method to get her way. David is furious, but can't help admiring her creativity.

Maddie and David are totally opposite personalities, but that doesn't stop the attraction that flares between them. It was fun to see them fight it, as the chemistry distracts them from their mission. As they chase Cassie across Europe, they argue, they try to ditch each other (the drinking scene in Paris, and the museum scene in Madrid are hilarious), and finally realize that working together is the best way to get what they both want.

I loved seeing the effect that they had on each other. David's tunnel vision on catching Shriver no matter what he has to do begins to change under the onslaught of his growing feelings for Maddie. At the same time, Maddie's rigid adherence to rules takes a big hit as she has to adapt on the fly to each new step they have to take. I also loved how Maddie's unswerving belief in Cassie's innocence began to chip away at David's belief she had gone over to the other side. Once they stopped working against each other, I loved seeing how they began to understand each other's motivations as no one else ever had. I loved seeing them come together at the end and realize that together they were a perfect balance.

The suspense of the art thefts was exciting and fun. Cassie seems like such an airhead, but as the story goes on we see that she's never had to face consequences of her actions. She really wants to overcome her reputation, and especially make Maddie see that she's not helpless, so she goes along with David's plan. That is, until she decides to take it further and starts making changes. Pretty soon she's in over her head and having to try to recover. David and Maddie always seem to be one step behind, and trying to figure out what side she's on. Then there is the involvement of a dangerous thug, who adds some complications to the whole process. By the time all the parties arrive in Venice, it's anybody's guess how it will turn out. Maddie ends up in extreme danger, with David hoping to get to her in time. Cassie's attempts to set up a sting get her in hot water, but also give her a chance to shine. And an unexpected twist at the end brings things to a dramatic close.

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