Right after I polished off The Bachelor Trap, I went on an Elizabeth Thornton binge, gobbling up The Bride’s Bodyguard and Dangerous to Kiss on two continuous nights, gladly sacrificing sleep … to much nagging from da hubby.
For those unfamiliar with ET, here’s the synopsis of The Bride’s Bodyguard:
Tessa Lorimer thinks she is the luckiest girl in the world. After a bitter, harrowing childhood, she had escaped her guardian’s clutches and fled to her wealthy, doting grandfather. For the first time in her life, Tessa is spoiled — yet one thing blights her happiness. Her grandfather’s new secretary, the mysterious and magnetic Ross Trevenan, has too much influence with the aging financier. And in Trevenan’s eyes, Tessa can do nothing right. But she suspects there is more to the cool, gray-eyed American’s plans than replacing her in an old man’s affections. And when a tragedy from the past returns to stalk the present, Tessa’s time may have run out.
Reading this book again brought back fond memories for me. This was my first Elizabeth Thornton book, and to this day I can recall the tempestuous relationship between Tessa and Ross very well.
Both H/H are forceful characters and have very strong traits of pride, stubbornness and loyalty towards family. It was also why Tessa felt so betrayed about being used as a bait for the murderer, even though she recognized that this is necessary to flush the criminal out. What really chafed was that she wasn’t given a choice to volunteer to be the bait, hence she felt left out. Her struggle to reconcile her love for Ross, and the insecurity of their marriage under the shadow of Ross’ ex-wife’s tragic death, is another point of conflict that was powerfully portrayed.
Ross ranks up there as one of my favourite Thornton heroes, together with Richard Maitland (The Perfect Princess) and Hugh Templar (Whisper His Name). He may be ruthless in his hunt for his late wife’s murderer, at first for vengeance but later as a desperate attempt to ensure that Tessa is safe, but when he capitulates to his intense feelings for Tessa, his surrender is total.
I enjoyed the gripping suspense that I eventually come to recognize as one of the hallmarks of Thornton’s works. That and her seemingly ordinary villains.
In Dangerous to Kiss:
Deborah Weyman and Quentin, the eight-year-old boy in her charge, are the sole witnesses to the murder of the boy’s father, Gilbert Barrington. Deborah, who did not see the murderer clearly, but heard Barrington address his killer as “Lord Kendal”, is horrified to find that she and Kendal have been named as Quentin’s guardians. Fearing that Kendal will kill Quentin to silence him, she takes the boy, assumes a false identity and goes into hiding. Kendal, upon learning that Deborah has abducted Quentin, assumes that she had something to do with Barrington’s death and with the espionage Barrington had been about to uncover. He sets out to apprehend her and, when he does, she proves to be a worthy opponent.
What made this story compelling and worth my staying up the night to finish it was the fast pace, exciting suspense, wry humour and witty sparring between the two leads. Deborah’s past itself is a mystery, but because this is the second time round I’m reading this book, I was already jumping ahead to the next exciting scene.
Deborah is one of my favourite Thornton heroines, besides Sara Carstairs (Strangers at Dawn), and Rosamund Devere (The Perfect Princess). These are intelligent, resourceful women – actually most of her heroines are – who are not afraid to defy society to do what’s right.
I can always count on Thornton to deliver thrilling suspense, sensual romance, an intriguing plot and memorable characters. Her consummate skills in writing romantic suspense, IMHO, ensure that fans are seldom disappointed with her works.