Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mission: Irresistible -- Lori Wilde (Forever - May 2005)

PR specialist Cassie Cooper loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned party. And the masquerade ball at the museum is her best yet. But one minute she's chatting with a mummy, and the next a legendary amulet is stolen practically from under her nose. There are times when a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do. To find the artifact and save her job, Cassie turns to her nemesis: Dr. Harrison Standish. Standoffish, as she likes to call him.

Archaeologist Harrison has all the intensity of Indiana Jones, but his no-need-for-romance attitude could use some adjustment. Who knew it would happen while he and Cassie are chasing leads, dodging bad guys, and racing against the clock? Just when he needs his full attention on their mission, he's having the damnedest time keeping his mind-and his hands-off her. They still have a shot at recovering the amulet, but when it comes to Cassie, Harrison's already a goner.

This is the story of Maddie's ditzy sister from Charmed and Dangerous. After her big part in catching the art thief in Venice, she got her old job at the Kimbell back. Her big event is the museum's fundraiser ball, this year with an Egyptian theme. The culmination of the evening is to be the joining of the amulets of two star-crossed lovers. Unfortunately, part way through the evening one major player hasn't arrived, and the other amulet gets stolen. Cassie's boss holds her responsible and gives her seventy-two hours to make it right. Cassie is desperate and enlists the help of Harrison Standish, her least favorite Egyptologist.

Harrison is one really intense guy. His search for the tomb of Kiya has taken up most of his adult life, leaving him little time or inclination for emotional entanglements. It also just so happens that the archaeologist who has the other mummy and amulet is the half-brother he always feels he has to compete with. And Adam is missing, along with the amulet he was bringing. Joining forces with Cassie is the most logical way to find them, but she is quite a distraction from his usual methods.

I really enjoyed seeing these two work together. They start out barely able to tolerate each other, with Harrison thinking she's a flake, and Cassie barely able to stand looking at the hot mess that is Harrison. It was fun to see them start to care about each other, and yet be totally confused about why they care. I loved seeing Harrison fight with himself over the emotions he didn't realize he had. It was also really sweet to see how protective he became of Cassie. On her side, Cassie was surprised to discover that his lack of style became far less important to her as she got to know the man himself.

The mystery of the missing amulet and the missing brother was really interesting. I loved the descriptive bits of the legend, and how belief or non-belief affected the way that Cassie and Harrison looked at it. The identity of the injured mummy is suspected but not known for certain, especially as there seems to be some delirium on his part. As the deadline looms ever closer, Cassie and Harrison find one clue that may hold the key, if it can be deciphered in time. Splitting up in the interest of saving time gets Cassie captured by the bad guys and in extreme danger. The resolution of that is intense, scary and creepy, with a surprise player showing up. I loved seeing everyone get together at the museum for the delayed joining of the amulets, with one last surprise provided by Harrison's mother.

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