Monday, July 30, 2007

Tough Enough by Michele Albert

PAGES: 351
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
SERIES: Possibly tie-in to some previous books. Too lazy to look this up now. [From Albert's website]
Although Tough Enough is technically the first book of the Avalon Series, Ben Sheridan and Rainert von Lahr are first mentioned in One Way Out. Avalon, Sheridan, and von Lahr all play an important part in Hide in Plain Sight. The hero of that book, Griffith Laughton, is an Avalon operative who has tangled with von Lahr in the past.
REASON FOR READING: Albert is an auto-buy author for me. She's consistently good, but some of her work is better than others. I have also liked her work written as Michelle Jerott.

Will Tiernay is an operative with Avalon, a top-secret army of mercenaries who recover stolen art and antiquities. When his new assignment -- tracking down an art forger at a museum reproductions company -- leads him directly to his former lover, Mia Dolan, he discovers he wants her more ever. But Mia is his prime suspect.
Mia had always imagined Will to be married with a houseful of kids back home in Ohio. So she's shocked to discover that he's a very single journalist researching the inner workings of Haddington Reproductions. More shocking is their chemistry -- as irresistible now as then. But Mia suspects Will is hiding something.... Is this truly a second chance at passion? Or will his real mission draw them so deeply into an underworld of danger and deception that they'll be lucky to escape alive?

I always enjoy Albert's writing style and this one is entertaining and fast moving. The plot had an interesting premise but it went a bit overboard near the end and lost touch with reality. I enjoy second chance at love stories (unlike some people) and this was a pretty good one.

Mia and Will were (sort of) likable characters but it was never really explained to my satisfaction why Mia did what she did all those years ago to cause their breakup. That part was glossed over too conveniently. The suspense was rather light and the villain was obvious from the start.

Will hides his motives and lies about why he has reappeared in Mia's life, but he is still very attracted to her and they share some spicy love scenes. It bothered me that Will deceives Mia and uses her past feelings for him to get her to do what he wants. He even makes love to her without telling her the truth about himself. But on the other hand he is still unsure if she is the thief. Eventually Will's deception is revealed and Mia gets pissed about his duping her but all gets forgiven fairly quickly since Mia's life is in danger and Will must protect her. TE is a good start to the series but not her best work. I like the stolen artifacts storyline so I'll be picking up the next one.



Alie said...

Funny enough I'm reading another Albert book and it had a preview of this book in the back. The plot sounds a bit too much like Elizabeth Lowell's Rarities Unlimited and St. Kilda Consulting series, if you've read those.

ReneeW said...

Alie: I have read those and I have about given up on Lowell. I was very disappointed in The Wrong Hostage. Lowell used to write very hot sex scenes. Not one sex scene in TWH. Blech.

Alie said...

I agree with you, Renee. Lowell is getting progressively worse with every novel. I hate to say it since she was one of my fave authors, but it's true sadly.

She used to be one of my auto-buys, but now I get them from the library because I have been so disappointed in the past. *sigh* I hope she gets back to her golden days soon!

avidbookreader said...

Hey Renee,

This one didn't work for me. I've enjoyed Ms. Albert's contemporaries in the past but this book felt like somebody else wrote it and I agree with you in that the reason for the breakup was never really explored and it didn't make much sense really. I guess I'm just down on all the super agents of late and the women they sleep with. Hee. Later.


ReneeW said...

Alie: If I pick up Lowell (not sure at this point) it will be from the library like TWH was. Unfortunately I have little confidence she will improve. Once an author 'turns the corner' they never recover in my opinion. Yeah, I'm negative about these things.

Keishon. Yeah, Albert could have done better. We'll see on the next one.

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