Friday, September 30, 2011

Temporary Spy by Lynne Connolly

TITLE: Temporary Spy
AUTHOR: Lynne Connolly
PUBLISHER: Total-e-bound
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 16k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.36

Beth investigates industrial espionage, but when a new job ends up coming from the man she left behind, she insists on being the one to do it. It’ll give her closure, she believes, except the moment Finn Scott sees her, he’s all over her, the chemistry they’d shared three years earlier hotter than ever. Finn has never forgotten Beth, ransacking the country for any sign of her when she disappeared after turning down his marriage proposal. But now that she’s back in his life, he has no intention of ever letting her go.

When I saw this for sale earlier this week, I got excited. I’d recently really enjoyed some of this author’s work, and while I’ve already purchased some of her backlist, I thought buying her most recent release would have me reading her at the top of her game. I was wrong. I was so disappointed in this story, it’s hard to believe it’s the same author.

The story starts in Finn’s POV as he is fending off the advances of his PA. She complains about the awful temp she has to deal with, so he agrees to talk to her at the end of the day. He doesn’t expect the temp to be the woman who disappeared out of his life three years earlier, however. The second she walks into his office, he is across the room, kissing her desperately against the door. Beth is there to help him ferret out and prove someone is stealing from him, but she gets caught up in the passion between them, and the single kiss turns into sex, sex, and more sex. She believes with everything she has that it won’t work, though, and fully intends for their relationship to be over once the job is done. Finn has other ideas.

My problems started early. We get none of the backstory between Finn and Beth before she walks into his office, and yet, he throws her against the door with such passion, there’s a distinct disconnect, like some of the story is missing or that I’ve somehow lost it from my file. In fact, we get very little of the backstory until later in the story, and what we do get comes in boring telling sections that do nothing to add any kind of sparkle to the characters. Beth’s explicit reason for leaving Finn before is kept a mystery until the very end, even though it’s painfully obvious very early on. It’s also incredibly lame, because all of the drama about why it was such a big deal is merely referenced in conversation that has zero emotional impact.

Both leads are flat, and the sex between them uninspired. Finn does start getting interesting near the end, but then the story is over and it all feels like one big wasted opportunity. Beth, on the other hand, always felt like a wet rag, and why she thought she could have this last fling with a man she’d left with no explanation, I’ll never know.

The espionage story itself is handled clumsily and then abruptly (and conveniently) resolved, leaving this short novella’s primary focus on the romance between the two leads. There’s an HEA, but honestly, I laughed out loud at it. She’s shown very little reason to change her mind, until, oh wait there’s the ending, she has to. If I hadn’t read this author before, I would have dismissed all the rest of her work out of hand after reading this one. It was just that bad. Now, however, I can only hope that this is a blip, because of the publisher perhaps, or maybe because it’s so short or written to a deadline I can’t know about or something like that. There has to be a reason why this falls so short of the level I’ve previously experienced with this author. I can only hope it’s a one-off and doesn’t reflect in the other stories I already have waiting to be read.


7/10 – Short, so it went quickly, but ultimately a little cold


4/10 – Flat for too much of the story, by the time he started getting interesting, the story was over


4/10 – Her behavior remains unexplained for too much of the story, making her annoying rather than sympathetic in any way

Entertainment value

3/10 – The sex was unengaging, the characters flat, and the overall effect extremely disappointing

World building

5/10 – Her past is sketchy as is her involvement, though there’s more when it comes to Finn’s work



No comments: