Genre: contemporary romance / romantic suspense
It's hard to keep a small business afloat—just ask Guinevere Jones, owner of a struggling temp agency. And security consultant Zac Justis isn't making her life any easier. After he blackmails Gwen into helping him solve a computer crime, she finds herself caught in a web of suspense, danger, and love.
I am very glad that this 4-book series has been re-published recently in two new duologies. I’ve never come across the original books in print, so I bought the new ones for myself as well when I bought them for Maia as a birthday present. We are both die hard fans of everything Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle / Amanda Quick writes.
This book was written when computers just arrived in the world, so people who knew nothing about them, were more common than now. No internet yet either.
Guinevere Jones owns and runs a temp agency, and she is more than capable of doing every job on the books herself as well, when necessary. While working in a bar one evening, a creepy frog like man in the corner keeps pestering her, and he won’t leave off. He insists on meeting up with her after work hours, and Gwen is not happy with that. But he knows more about her than she likes, and when he knows she has embezzled some money from a previous employer, she has no choice but to hear him out.
Zac is a private investigator, and he has been hired by an old friend to find out some shady dealings at his friend’s firm. The same firm Gwen embezzled from. And now he is blackmailing her to help him figure out the bigger thief at the company, in exchange of not turning her in to the police. It has to be one of the people in the programming department, and Gwen knows then and knows her way around computers. Gwen had her own reasons to steal 10.000 dollars and does not want to explain herself to him. She also has no choice, so she agrees to go back to work at StarrTech, and try to find out who is behind this big theft scheme.
Other than one of the programmers missing, she can’t seem to find out anything, and she really needs to go back to work on her own firm. Luckily her sister is willing and able to help her out, manning the phone and doing the necessary paperwork, something Gwen did not really expect. Zac is also a bit frustrated with the lack of progress on the case, especially as Gwen keeps insisting on getting high class meals out of this deal. His firm is only just starting, so there is not much money for the expense account yet.
When Gwen wants to stop by the house of the missing programmer, the first clues are found that something is not right here, and perhaps it is all tied in to their investigation. The missing man and his friend/collegue were working on a major computer game, and they did not intend to share it with StarrTech, they were planning to quit their jobs, launch the game and get rich. And now the game has been altered ...
I really enjoyed this. I loved Gwen, she is sassy and capable, and is not really an embezzler, she felt titled to this money because of what happened to her sister. She is a strong woman, with her own business and she is doing well. She has no time for a relationship, nor is she looking for one.
I was also happy that the hero is not a dashing handsome man, but an ordinary looking one, Gwen keeps comparing him to a frog due to their first encounter. And kissing this frog, well, he did not turn into a prince. Zac is falling for Gwen, but he is not a people person, he is gruff and tactless. Gwen on the other hand is a real people person, she gets along with everyone, so he really needs her help for that part of the investigation as well.
I liked how Gwen is getting more and more fun in the investigation, sneaking around with or without Zac, and finding clues.
It is important to me that a book grabs my attention on the first page, preferably the first sentence, and this one sure does. “He was the ugliest man in the bar, and he had his eye on her”. Of course you want to know more.
I liked the characters, the plot that the clues to solving the crime are hidden in a computer game, and the story around it all. I did figure out the culprit early though, but it is still a good book, even though it is this old. I can recommend it.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian