The second book in the Avalon Investigation series, published October 2002.
Private Investigator Diana Belmaine always gets her man -- and her hunt for a brazen, clever thief leads the cool blonde straight to Dr. Jack Austin. A globetrotting adventurer and shoo-in for "America's Most Eligible Bachelor," Jack is a pillar of the community -- and guilty as sin. But while his gorgeous smile could melt nearly any woman's resistance, she's learned her lesson about sweet-talking men and won't be swayed by Jack's obvious charms, no matter how much the criminally handsome hunk turns up the heat.
Jack is used to living life on the edge and is drawn to smart, sexy women with a bite -- but this lady is wickedly dangerous! Diana's vow to expose his secret could cost him his livelihood, his reputation, perhaps even his life. He should keep his distance, though closing in on her tempting curves is a risk he can't resist. With nothing left to lose, his beautiful adversary his only salvation, why not surrender to fate and steal her heart with a deep, lingering ... larcenous ... kiss?
Private Investigator Diana Belmaine is hired by Mr. Steven Carmichael to retrieve an ancient stolen relic. A small alabaster Egyptian box, containing a two inch golden statue of a Pharaoh, and a lock of hair supposedly from Queen Nefertiti. Steven Carmichael specializes in pre Columbian art, but this Egyptian artefact he could not resist. Is was not in his vault when stolen, but just hidden in an empty cigar box in an armoire. But the thief knew where it was and took of with it, apparently during the opening party of his new gallery.
It doesn’t take Diana long to figure out who did it, but now to prove it, and get the item back. And she can tie the gorgeous archaeologist up to some other thefts as well, all of pre Columbian artefacts. He really shouldn’t have left his calling card, the Jack of Spades. But why does Jack do it? Why does he risk his career and his reputation? Steven Carmichael has been financing his excavations for the last 10 years, and he treats Jack as a good friend, almost a son. So Diana keeps on digging, and fight the attraction she feels for Jack.
Diana has been burned badly before. Her previous boyfriend used her client database to figure out whom to burglar, and he is now in jail. She really doesn’t need another thief in her life, ruining her new career and reputation over again.
And Jack, he wants to keep her out of his life, the thefts have gone far enough, but he just can’t stop now. And he will not drag her with him when he falls. But she is everything he ever wanted in a woman, if only she was not hell bend on catching him.
I have never read this author before, and certainly did not have a clue this is a series. But I liked her writing style. Diana is a feisty heroine. She has a fashion style which is flamboyant and sexy, and her assistant is a goth. They make quite the pair. There is a lot of humor involved, but also some serious P.I. work. Even though Diana focuses quickly on Jack, she covers all her bases. She has some close girlfriends whom she shares almost everything with. They were there for her when her life collapsed around her the previous time, and they warn her against getting involved with Jack, but there is just no fighting the attraction between them.
Jack is a college professor and archaeologist during the summer. He found an ancient Maya ruin, and has been excavating it for the past 10 years. He also knows what betrayal is, so it is difficult to trust Diana, especially as she makes no secret of her suspicions and what to catch him. After all, she always gets her man. But he likes Diana, and when they finally kiss, it is really smoking hot.
A good romantic suspense, I enjoyed reading it. When I read the blurb, my first though was: mmm haven’t I seen this movie? But I could not find out if it has been turned into a movie. Good likable characters, a bit of suspense and mystery, great settings and a lovely romance. A perfect in-between read.