About the Book:
Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try. Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list. As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?
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I got a little nostalgic reading this book. The story reminded me of one of my favorite 1980’s shows, Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Scarecrow, aka Lee Stetson, (played by Bruce Boxleitner) is a dashing covert operator who meets Mrs. Amanda King (played by Kate Jackson). She is an ordinary suburban housewife who gets reluctantly gets involved with espionage games when she meets Scarecrow. Week after week, they get involved in solving crimes with his skills and her wit. Like the television series, this narrative is whip smart and great fun.
Ms. Chase unerringly strikes the right balance between heart and humor. I found myself smiling and laughing at the clever dialogue and totally engaged in the adventure. There is also something a little old fashioned in the story. It’s the way the hero and heroine interact – with witty dialogue; it is the way their eyes meet across the room; it is the way that their relationship is restrained and allowed to develop instead of being overwhelmed by insta-love.
The characters are highly likable. Ava transforms from what she calls a twenty-three year old “living like a cat woman. Minus the cat,” to a ready-for-action agent taking down a crime ring. Owen is an assassin, not only with a heart of gold, but a strong sense of proper decorum. In my mind, I envision him as a dashing James Bond-like character including the accent. I smirked at his objections to Ava’s “potty mouth”, while at the same time arguing, “I manage to kill people while maintaining a sense of propriety.”
And let’s not forget the bra-ripping, mad race-to-get-naked scene. (We didn’t get a whole lot of this on Scarecrow and Mrs. King because it was broadcast during primetime family viewing hour.) It is intense, consuming, and sweet: “I had been drowning in her blue eyes, in the way she moved, in the way she thought, from the moment I’d first laid eyes on her. Now I’d drown in the way she made me feel.” Sigh, so beautiful.
IN A NUTSHELL:
Nichole Chase is a new author to me and having experienced this charming read, I’m certain to be back for more.