Escape With Me
by Janice Sims, contemporary (2013)
Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86302-0


Lana Corday thought she knew her husband Jeremy, but ouch, that was before he scammed old people out of their retirement funds and blew up his yacht in an attempt to pretend that he's dead.

Never mind, she divorces him when the story opens (no one found his body, so Jeremy can't be considered dead yet) and keeps her head high despite being hounded by the press and all. When she learns that her father has a heart attack, she rushes back to Outer Banks, North Carolina, where she bumps into film maker Tennison Isles. The man claims to be working on a documentary on her father, a successful author, so he may just be a nice way to relax after all the upheaval in her life.

Well, he's actually an undercover FBI agent, hoping to find out where her husband is. Ouch. He convinced her father Aaron that he and his team are here to protect Lana from trouble, so it's a double lie thing that would complicate his attraction to Lana. Then there's her ex-husband. Will these two ever have time to work on a relationship amidst all the bustle?

Yes, you've read right. Escape With Me is a romantic suspense story of sorts, and its very existence is like a truffle among moss as every other story in the Kimani line these days is either about some heroine running off for a holiday in some island and falling in love, the daddy's girl pretending to do something useful in her father's company while falling in love with some corporate dude, or the heroine hooking up with the hot guy she met at her best friend's wedding to the hot guy's best friend.

This book has much of what made a book by Janice Sims worth a look: intelligent characters that behave generally sensibly (although the heroine's determination to confront her ex-husband without involving the law and the hero's willingness to go along with that do make me wonder about the "sensibly" part) and show good chemistry. The writing here is also almost a throwback to the author's works especially in those days when Kimani was still part of BET and not Harlequin. The author's previous few books showed a slump of sorts, with too much telling over showing and some draggy pacing, but here, there is a better balance between show and tell, and the pacing is actually pretty good. It's very easy to read this book in one sitting.

I'm just not sure about the plot. As I've mentioned, I'm not convinced that the hero's best course of action is to abet the heroine in her efforts to catch her ex-husband on her own. I'm also not sure whether I buy the premise that Ten would be able to get away with telling Lana about what he is really doing with her without first having a long discussion with his boss. Oh, and perhaps I am missing something, but I am pretty sure the guy used his real name while going undercover. He also tells her all about his past and what not, when he's supposed to be undercover and all. He's lucky that Lana isn't one of those gangster movie femme fatales that always make a fool out of the besotted hero, or he'd be without his career and a happy ending by the end of this book.

A part of me likes Escape With Me more than the final rating for the book would suggest, due to the chemistry between the main characters and all, but the rest of the plot doesn't come together well enough for my liking.

Rating: 74


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