Monday, June 30, 2008

The Black Sheep and the English Rose-Donna Kaufman

The Black Sheep and the English Rose
Donna Kaufman
Kensington Brava, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 0758217293

In New York City, Finn Dalton sneaks into a hotel suite only to find jewel thief Felicity Jane Trent tied naked to the bed. They have a history competing for precious jewels, but have not seen one another since Prague two years ago. Finn offers to team up with Felicity Jane to retrieve the Byzantium gem that both want; she asks how to split one stone and he says he is not sure, but there are other things he desires. She explains that artifact dealer John Reese caught her looking into his things. He tied her up and left with the stone. He is meeting his buyer’s contact. Finn asks Felicity Jane why steal when she is wealthy and runs a renowned charity. She will not respond, but he assumes it is the thrill.

Finn and Felicity Jane join Reese and his client Andreev, who is buying the gem for octogenarian collector Chesnokov. Andreev leaves followed by Reese. Finn and Felicity Jane go to Reese’s hotel room where they know an unknown woman had been there. They take a glass that might have her fingerprints on it. At his Manhattan sanctuary he learns the prints belong to Julia Forsythe, a San Francisco art dealer; they find her itinerary on the net. They believe Reese went to California with her so they follow them. Finn and Felicity Jane want one another, but he insists she stop stealing; she refuses.

The lead couple is terrific as they share an odd confrontational loving history filled with sexual innuendos while the return of the lead characters from the previous “Black Sheep” tales adds depth as they perform critical but minimized support roles. The mystery of what is truly going on is cleverly disguised; however, the “villain” never makes a first person appearance leaving the audience somewhat dissatisfied. Still this is a fine romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: