Love blossoms between unlikely partners in St. John’s (No Boundaries, 2016, etc.) steamy contemporary romance.
Sabrina Turov, the young woman at the center of this sensual new novel, works in a bookshop in Crescent Heights, California, and is quietly pleased with the place, which she considers “a bookstore for real readers, who read to expand their minds and awaken their passions.” She believes that she’s met just such a reader, a “Prince Charming” named Jeffrey Ivanov, who takes her to a glamorous event after they’ve been dating about a month. But then he leaves her at an abandoned gas station in the Desolation Mountain wilderness to fend for herself overnight in a storm, wearing nothing but a flimsy party dress. She’s rescued by military veteran Micah Hudson. He did tours of duty in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, but since his return, he’s lived in the mountains, seeking peace and solitude. Despite the apparent mismatch of a quiet young woman in a fine dress and a grizzled, formidable warrior, Sabrina and Micah are instantly attracted to each other. Indeed, St. John devotes a sizable portion of the novel to their exploration of this attraction, in both emotional and explicitly sexual terms. She blends this element fairly seamlessly into the book’s main storyline, which involves the Russian mob, Ivanov’s illicit connections, and FBI operatives who are more than willing to use Sabrina and Micah in the pursuit of their own goals. A great deal of this thriller plot is predictable, though, and the serviceable prose does little to liven things up. But the story does nicely build momentum as it goes along, and the portrait of Micah as a tortured but honorable warrior who feels himself to be “a cripple in his mind, half a man,” is consistently engaging.
An often effective blend of offbeat romance and high-stakes action-adventure.