by Marcia King-Gamble, contemporary (2003)
Arabesque, $6.99, ISBN 1-58314-399-8
One day, Vivianne Baxter overhears some men in the non-profit organization that she is the spokesperson for talking about embezzling money from the funds. Before she can spill the beans, she is accused of sexual harrassment and loses her job as a result. Now, she is at Venice taking a holiday to forget about the mess she leaves behind in America. Meanwhile, Sage Medino loses his FBI job because he is falsely accused to "misplacing" a stash of drugs from a recent drug bust. Today, he is a bodyguard hired by the famous movie star parents of Maya Gabriel to take care of the young woman. Maya believes that Sage is just a friend she met on the trip.
When Viv encounters a mugger, Sage comes to her rescue. They and Maya are in the same tourist group after all. Sage and Viv feel an attraction between them and when Maya runs away with a young man she met, both get together to look for the missy. Meanwhile, Viv's old enemies are not satisfied with her dismissal. They want her silenced for good. So strange accidents begin happening around Viv. How lucky for her that Sage is ex-FBI.
Sage and Viv are pleasant characters with convincing chemistry, if not much depths. I'm more concerned that Sage is a really lousy bodyguard for Maya. There is a subplot of Maya and her boyfriend and this boyfriend's inheriting pots of money, but I find it hard to buy this secondary romance because these kids are, well, kids. They don't even know each other and now, after a romantic fling in Italy, they want to live together? At least they are having safe sex, I guess. The grown-ups are better off with their story as at least Viv and Sage address some pertinent issues in their relationship. The kids? They should wait a few years more, methinks.
Come Fall is a pretty lightweight read about beautiful people in beautiful settings falling in love. It is a little too lightweight in the characterization to be really memorable, but for a few hours of escapism in romantic Venice, it will do very nicely.
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