The second book in the T-FLAC: Black Rose Trilogy series, published July 2007.
The last person on earth that art restorer Emily Greene wants to see is the devil-may-care Max Aries. She hasn’t forgotten (or forgiven) the way Max dropped into her life a year ago, stole her heart, then vanished without a word. But the prodigal playboy returns with shocking news: his father’s recent death was no suicide, but in fact murder … and Emily’s life is also in danger. Intel from Max’s control at the counterterrorist organization T-FLAC reveals that the Black Rose terror cell is involved: a chilling revelation that elevates the threat level almost as high as the sexual tension bristling between Max and Emily. Max isn’t about to take his eyes off her – though only partly for professional reasons – and Emily finds it increasingly difficult to deny her feelings for him. Crisscrossing Europe and piecing together tantalizing clues to a sinister plot, Max and Emily must put their lives in the line … and still be ready when the heat between them flares white hot.
Wow, so much is going on in this very fast paced and action filled book, I hardly know where to start.
When Max returns from a long op, he finds several calls on his voicemail from Emily Greene. A woman he used last year to get access to a high end fundraiser, to capture a terrorist. He had a few hot days and nights with her, then left without a trace, without saying goodbye. She never knew who he really was. But now his father, of whom he thinks only as a sperm donor, but whom Emily was very close to, has died, and Emily has summoned him back to Florence, to be there for the funeral. But that has been weeks ago, and he doesn’t care. But he does want to see Emily again, he never quite forgot her. Which is a strange thing for Max, as he is married to his job.
Arriving in the middle of the night, Emily is not answering her doorbell. Max decides to just break in, and make himself at home, waiting for her. Only he is not the first to do that, some one has already gone through the balcony doors. Luckily, Emily has taken care of the intruder with a heavy frying pan, and she almost knocks Max out cold too. But then Max finds out the man was not there to steal anything, he went straight to Emily’s bedroom, and there is an empty vial on the floor next to the bed. The man refuses to talk, so Max calls in his team to take the man away, and sweep the house for toxins. He takes Emily with him to his father’s house, where they will stay “in quarantine”.
Emily doesn’t know what to think of this new forceful Max. He is nothing like the easy man she fell in love and in bed with last year. Surely he is overreacting. And why couldn’t he be there for his own fathers funeral? Sure, they were estranged, but still.
Max and his team are working hard on a series of church bombings. A big and famous church, or mosque, or synagogue has been bombed. The bomb was hidden in a famous painting, and lot of people were killed during those bombings. No clues are found, only a bunch of white lilies are left near the scene. Why has no terrorist group claimed those attacks yet?
While Max is taking Emily with him to the next scene, more attacks are made on Emily’s life. Her almost-fiancée and his whole family are killed, other art restorers are found dead all over the world, and Max doesn’t believe in coincidence. He will do whatever is necessary to keep Emily safe. Is she the key afteral?
The traitor mentioned in the previous book, is hold under close observation, hoping she will lead them to more members of the Black Rose, but no luck so far. Savage is much smarter than they are, and of course knows all the secrets of T-FLAC. So even when they finally take her under arrest, she manages to thwart them.
A good story, I had to keep reading, even when my boyfriend came over for some coffee on his break. I liked Emily. Max really hurt her when he disappeared last year, and though the attraction between them sizzles from the pages, she tries to stand firm. There is no future for them, he will just disappear again, and that is exactly what Max is planning. He thinks she will get over him, again, and live HEA while he goes on with his work for T-FLAC. The life of a married operative is not for him. He knows he will die on an op one day, and he won’t give her that grief. Better to get away clean and cold.
But with all the violence and death that is happening around them, they can’t stay apart. Their lovescenes are white hot, and when they are in danger time and again, love keeps growing between them. Making love takes their mind of the horrors they have to deal with, and to keep going on.
But I loved it, that in the end Emily played it cool, went on with her life, and Max came crawling back to her. Finally offering her what she wants, and needs, from him.
What I also loved about this book in particular, they went to visit Holland, Utrecht, the city where I live! For once, not famous Amsterdam, but my own homey town. Ofcourse, the address they visited doesn’t exist, but it was still way cool to read about it.
A book where everything was good: the romance part, the suspense part, the plot, the danger, the emotions, the crazy sociopath, and also some humor. We get to meet some of the previous T-FLAC characters again, which is always a treat for me.
Cherry Adair has a very fluent writing style, which is also easy to read. I couldn’t stop reading once I had the time to keep doing that.
According to fantasticfiction, this is supposed to be a trilogy, and there sure is an angle for that third book, and of course a hero! So I sure hope that book will be written some day.