by Ann Bruce, contemporary (2010)
Ellora's Cave, $5.20, ISBN 978-1-4199-2840-6
You know what they say about that absolutely one last assignment before retirement for good. Cleo Moran is a former cat burglar who thinks she can escape that dreaded cliché when she comes out of retirement to steal a statuette from the house of Alexander "Sasha" Michaels. It is something that she feels that she has to do in order to protect the women of her family. Things didn't go as planned, and she wakes up in a bed, her hands tied and tethered. Sasha has a job offer for Cleo that will allow them to get what they both wanted, and you know how things will go from there, I'm sure.
Dark Side Of Dreaming is like a cotton candy kind of story. The sexual tension is enjoyable to read and the chemistry is combustible. The characters are believable and likable types - for me, anyway. They are not exactly nice people, but they do have their own personal moral code. Such characters with rather, shall we say, ambiguous morality may not appeal to everyone. The romance is handled believably - the characters don't rush into anything permanent by the last page, which is only right as they are only beginning to know each other.
However, the story could have been developed a little bit more. The characters' motivations to do what they do here are still on the sketchy side even by the last page, and they, especially the hero, remains an enigma all the way to the end. The intrigue is there, full of style and the occasional violence, but underneath the impressive fireworks, there is not much substance to the plot.
Dark Side Of Dreaming provides some pleasant adrenaline-charged and even erotic entertainment, but it is also on the underbaked side. It's not a bad read by any means, but I feel that it could have been much better as well.
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