Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sea Swept by Nora Roberts *****

I wrote this review 7/12/08 when I read it. I've now listened to it on audio and have some additional notes at the end.

Oh that Nora! She is good!! This is the first in a 3 or 4 book series (started out as 3 but I'm thinking there's a 4th now?) about the Quinn brothers - Cam, Phillip and Ethan - all adopted as troubled adolescents by Ray and Stella Quinn.

The hero of Sea Swept is the oldest, Cam. He's a guy who likes things fast. Fast women, fast cars, fast boats. He left home and has been traveling the world in the company of all things fast - not spending much time with his now widowed father in their small hometown in Maryland on the coast. When we meet Cam, he's just won some boat race and is in the midst of getting a hot French model into his bed when he gets the news that Ray has had a car accident and isn't going to make it. He drops that model fast and heads homeward.

The mystery of the series centers on Ray and his newest foster kid, Seth. There's rumors around - that Seth is Ray's biological child from a dalliance with a student while Stella was still alive. To top it off, Ray has paid the child's mother large sums of money, and in his car is a blackmail letter from her demanding more. Ray drove the car into a telephone pole for no apparent reason - other than maybe suicide. On his deathbed, he gets a promise from each of the grown sons to take care of Seth.

The heroine is Anna Spinelli - she must be a Gemini, because during the day she's a buttoned up social worker who's been assigned to the Quinn case, but during the evening she's a hot-blooded Italian babe. She also has a troubled past which led her to social work. She and Cam have instant chemistry - and I like Anna because she doesn't beat around the bush or try to hide her attraction. She lets Cam know she's interested too - but Seth comes first.

This book practically drips testosterone from the pages, Cam is such an Alpha. But he's hiding his marshmallow core from everyone but Anna - she sees him develop a relationship with Seth that's protective and supportive and understanding, when Cam himself isn't even aware of it. And she falls head over heels for him, until she decides she will never break through his tough-guy shell. He'll always be a rambling man and she's just another of his hot conquests, and she pulls back.

Roberts writes funny, hot, drama, mystery - you want it, she gives it to you in spades. I haven't read a ton of her work (who could keep up? The woman is prolific!) but I haven't yet found her to be repetitive or boring, criticisms I've seen in Romance forums and blogs.

The mystery of Ray's death isn't solved in this book so I'm now halfway through Rising Tides, Ethan's story. I haven't yet figured Ethan out - he's a tougher nut to crack than Cam, but I'll report back.

This is an AAR Top 100, so I'm checking it off my challenge list. 5 stars for me.

----- end of original review -----

I got this as a download audio book from the library in May 2009. The narrator is good. And I have a slightly different take on Anna Spinelli this time - she's a manipulating, nervy bitch!! I felt like Cam was as open as he needed to be with her, and she jumped all over Cam for what I think was NOT a good reason!! But I still enjoyed the book and will be listening to the others as well. It fits the Spring 2009 Challenge as a book from one of the first romance authors I read, and also fits the Serial Readers Challenge 2009.

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