Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dying to Please by Linda Howard ****

Dying to Please is another of Howard's romance/suspense books with some murder mystery thrown in for good measure. Sarah is a butler/bodyguard, working for a retired judge. Yes, butler as in she actually irons the newspaper in addition to all those other butlerly duties like overseeing the household. (She says in an interview it sets the ink - go figure) The judge has had some death threats during his years on the bench, and since he's wealthy and can afford it, why not have a butler with bodyguard training? Sarah's big Plan for life includes taking a year all to herself to travel the world in style - and since she makes a 6-figure income and has few expenses, it's easy enough to sock away the funds for this and anything else she might desire.

Tom Cahill is a police detective who is also recovering slowly from a bitter divorce. Slowly is the operative word, since his wife cheated on him then tried to get everything in the divorce. The night the judge's house is broken into and the burglars foiled by the female butler, he goes to the scene and meets Sarah.

Now we have 2 single, hot-blooded and available people who are interested one in the other - except they each have an obstacle to getting involved. He's actually better about keeping his distance even than she is, being surly and uncommunicative when they do have to interact.

The anonymous third person involved wants Sarah for himself. He saw her in a TV news piece on the foiled burglary, and in his psychotic mind, he decides she needs him. The clues we get are only that he's killed before and he lives in the same upperclass neighborhood as the judge. He offers her a job with him, including a (relatively puny) financial incentive and when she turns him down, he decides the only way to get her is to eliminate the obstacle between them - the judge.

My regular computer is on the fritz and I'm having to use my work PC to write this - I think it is keeping me from expressing myself well here. Suffice it to say, the characters are well-written, the crime suspenseful, and I'm going with 4 stars on this one.

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