maandag 18 oktober 2010

Jayne Castle – After Glow

The third book in the Harmony World series, published in 2004.

After Glow

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to my other world – the rules are a little different here.

Life is complicated for Lydia Smith. She’s working at that tacky, third rate museum, Shrimpton’s House of Ancient Horrors, trying to salvage her career in para-archeology – and dating the most dangerous man in town. Just when she thinks she might be getting things under control, she stumbles over a dead body and discovers that her lover has a secret past that could get him killed. Just to top it off, there’s trouble brewing underground in the eerie, glowing green passageways of the Dead City.

Of course, all of these problems pale in comparison to the most pressing issue: Lydia has been invited to the Restoration Ball and she hasn’t got a thing to wear.

If, like me, you sometimes relish your romantic suspense with a paranormal twist, join me for After Glow.

Sincerely, Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle.

It really was a good idea to read this book right after I finished After Dark, as the story just continues were it stopped.

Lydia gets asked to visit an ex-professor of the university who claims to have some answers to her Lost Weekend, 7 months ago. But as she arrives at his house, he is dead, overdosed on Chartreuse. Just after she called the cops, Emmett London arrives. Searching for her, as he has important news. Some one just tried to kill Mercer Wyatt, the Guild Boss, and Emmett has been appointed Acting Guild Boss. A job that well may become permanent if Wyatt doesn’t survive his wounds.

The same police detective as in the previous book arrives on scene, but this time they are not really murder suspects. After all, it was not a murder. But later that night, Lydia wants to go back to the dead man’s house to search for a clue about what he wanted to tell her. All they find is an old milk carton, secured with a small Illusion trap. When Lydia de-rezzes it, there is just an old newspaper clipping inside it, about a student who disappeared in the catacombs 15 years ago.

So now they have 2 mysteries to unravel. Who tried to kill Mercer Wyatt, and what was Professor Maltby trying to tell Lydia?

Emmett is using the whole power of the Guild to find out the first thing, and stumbles upon a former mistress of Mercer, before he married his current wife, Tamara (who also used to be Emmetts fiancée before she scorned him when he planned to stop being Guild Boss). Now Mercer is also planning to retire, so does Tamara have a motive? After all, the only thing she wants is to be a Guild Boss wife, with all the power and prestige that comes with it.

When the tabloids find out about all this, they have a field day with this so called lovers triangle. What will they do if they find out Emmett is Mercers illegitimate son?

Being acting Guild Boss has other obligations: Emmett will have to go to the Restoration Ball, and with a date, tomorrow. So he asks Lydia, who has absolutely nothing to wear to such a grand occasion. After being told she can send the bill to the Guild, she takes her friend Melanie with her to go shop for the perfect dress. And of course, she succeeds.

But then she is cornered by the tabloids, asked if she is the Mystery Mistress of the new Guild Boss. Cornered, she tells them they will be married this very same afternoon. And as that was Emmett’s intention already, he complies with her scheme, not knowing she is also using it to keep him from being challenged for leadership of the Guild. After all, she now has Guild Boss wife rights! Unfortunately, their wedding night is disturbed by a very large ghost on their balcony, which Emmett has to de-rez, causing him to “burn amber” and collapse for a few hours.

Lydia is collecting information about the missing student and his close friends, who all seem to have died shortly after his disappearance. Strangely enough, their bodies have never been found either, and none of them had any close relatives.

After the Ball, Lydia and Emmett and his chief of security go interview the former mistress, and also find her dead, overdosed on Chartreuse. Conveniently, she left behind a suicide note in which she claimed to have tried to murder Mercer Wyatt. Another dead end.

As a new celebrity, Lydia is very much in demand at the Musuem, giving tours for groups. After hours, she is asked to give a VIP-tour for a bunch of “greenies”, a strange cult. Who then abduct her, and take her to the catacombs, where she is told a story about her Lost Weekend. The cult leader wants her to de-rezz an enormous Illusion trap, as no other tangler who has tried could do it. And after all, she has done it before, even if she has no memory of it. Her memory comes back, bit by bit, and Lydia knows he is lying to her. She was abducted by her body guards Ghost Hunters back then, who already were members of the cult. And she escaped through the curtain, to get away from them, not the other way around. But she stalls for time, knowing Emmett will find her. As he does with the help of Fuzz, her pet dustbunny. An alien creature looking like a piece of lint, with sex legs and four eyes, but being a predator instead of an innocent bunny. Fuzz found her all those months ago, and led her to safety. Something she has kept carefully secret all that time, except from her closest friends and Emmett.

Escaping from the cult, they do a major archeological find. Unraveling all the clues doesn’t take them too long, but will it be in time? Will Emmett save Lydia one more time in time?

A really good story again. Full of history and suspense this time. I especially loved the last half page of the book, where Fuzz gets his own visitor. Lydia finally gets her memory back, and knows she was right in suspecting the Ghost Hunters from the Guild. She did not neglect safety measures! She was set up. Their Marriage of Convenience is changed into a Covenant Marriage, which is permanent instead of only for a year.

Next to the suspense, there was some relationship trouble, mainly because Emmett cannot communicate with Lydia as he ought to do, but love wins. I like both characters, and Fuzz ofcourse. The usual humor is there, and Lydia is a really strong heroine, which I prefer.

So, bring on the next book in this series!

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