Pheromones—of the hate him, love him, hate him, live happily ever after variety—cloud the heroine's judgment in Adair’s (Edge of Darkness, 2006, etc.) latest romantic suspense novel.
Emily Greene has it all—wealth, flawless beauty, a palazzo in Florence, an investment banker who loves her and a career as a respected painter who specializes in restoring and reproducing Old Master paintings. The only thorn in her side is the memory of Max Aries, the estranged son of her friend and mentor, Daniel. A year ago, after four days of erotic bliss, Max disappeared without a word. Now Daniel is dead and Max is back in Emily's palazzo on the heels of an intruder who is a member of the Black Rose terrorist group. As Max protects Emily from one attack after another, she discovers he's not the photojournalist he claimed to be, but a ruthless counterterrorist operative for a secret organization, T-FLAC. Emily and Max's efforts to resist each other—even after they have succumbed to the powerful attraction between them—is drawn out beyond credibility, as are the predictable sex scenes where body parts spring to attention on cue and moaning is raised to a language all its own. Adair shortchanges Emily's depiction as a sophisticated long-term expatriate by defining her through clichéd American status symbols (Coach, Maserati, Jimmy Choo) and showing her adding powdered milk to her coffee—heresy in Italy. However, the terrorist plot that has put Emily in danger is compellingly interwoven with art-world intrigue. As one religious site after another is bombed and a mysterious toxin kills art restorers around the world, Max discovers that Emily's reproductions of priceless masterpieces point to the killers—who have infiltrated T-FLAC to murder Emily as well. When Emily is strapped to a ticking bomb, she and Max finally acknowledge that their physical magnetism is matched by an enduring love.
A predictable love story.