A stand alone novel, published December 2004. My copy of the book is the small picture, and up close it is pretty.
Had she listened to a lover’s lies?
Amy Shannon met Jase Lassiter at a seedy bar called The Serpent, and she should have heeded the warning in the name. At first he offered her paradise – nights of love and days of sheer delight – but the taste of honey turned to ashes on her tongue when she thought she’d been abandoned. Now, only Jase’s return can satisfy Amy’s hunger for promises of love. Will his words take her to paradise, or exile her forever?
Amy Shannon is the successful owner of a few designer lingerie boutiques in San Francisco. To help out her beloved sister, she has flown to the tropical island of Saint Clair to meet with a stranger. Her sister’s ex-husband is some kind of adventurer, who abandoned his wife and unborn child. But a while ago, he has send her an old mask, and now someone else wants it. They fear Ty is death, and Melissa wants to know what has happened to him, so she can tell her little son when he asks about his father. And that mask will be his only memento of his father, so they will not just give it away.
Of course, it is all kind of fishy, meeting a stranger in a bar on an exotic island. And Amy feels very out of place at The Serpent. She keeps waiting for a stranger to approach her, but when that finally happens, he is not the man she is waiting for. Jase Lassiter is the owner of The Serpent, and he is fascinated with Amy. She is not the kind of tourist that visits Saint Clair, looking for a romantic fling before going back home. It has been 10 years since Jase left the States and his ex-wife behind. He likes it where he is, living day to day, without commitments and thinking about the future.
Amy is certainly not interested in a fling, no matter how handsome Jase is. And when he kisses her when he walks her back to the hotel she is staying at, it sure is not easy to keep saying no. But she manages. The next morning when she goes down for breakfast, Jase is there as well, planning on taking her on a tour of the island and a swim. She agrees, as she has to wait till the evening to go back to his bar and wait for the unknown Dirk Haley. Again she waits without result, and Jase insists on walking her back again. But when she discovers her room has been searched, he won’t take no for an answer, she is to pack her things and come home with him. Where she will be safe. But will she be safe from Jase?
Well, I think most of you can guess what happens next. Still, some nice surprises and twists in the story. I do dislike the fact though, that when a woman has slept with a man, that man thinks he has the right to know everything, and to decide and order around.
Earlier this week I was staring at my piles of new books, and really could not pick one to start reading. So desperately I went to one of my oldest beloved authors and picked one. I did not read the blurb, just put it in my handbag to read at the office in my lunchbreak the next day. I was kind of hesitant to start it, as it is written in the early 80’s, and those heroes are not really my kind of hero. They tend to be very overbearing and manhandling their heroines. Still, the author is one of my favourites, even though she wrote this initially under an older penname.
The story surprised me though. There is a bit of a mystery in it, even though it was not difficult to figure out, the suspense part was nice.
I did like Amy and Jase. Amy is a strong heroine, but well, going to an obscure tropical island to meet a possible dangerous stranger, is a very stupid thing to do. Even back in the 80’s. She is a successful business woman, and can take care of herself. She has always been wary of men, and is certainly not the trusting kind. Both her mother and her sister are single mothers, and she has vowed never to follow in their footsteps. So how can she fall for a man like Jase, who is so wrong for her? A man without a purpose, a future.
Jase left the USA when his marriage fell through, when they could not have children. And that was his fault. His wife did not want to adopt, she just got a new husband who could give her a family. He ended up on the island, and took over the bar from the previous owner after a few months. He likes the relaxed life, and the bar is doing well. Navy ships come to port regularly, and some tourists. So why is he after Amy? Who is so wrong for him, a woman who wants her man to be a grown up, not a boy who shirks from his duty. Her life is in San Francisco, and his is on the island. He hates living in a city.
How is this ever going to work?
I like Stephanie James’ writing style, she makes me like things that usually irritate me in a book. I can picture the scenery on the island, and would love to visit. The few secondary characters are really the icing on the cake, like the bartender, and the lady who owns the grocery store. Nothing is a secret for long.
If you want to read this book, well, it is out of print, so you will have to find a secondhand copy.