by Simona Taylor, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-121-9
I have a big problem accepting the basic premise of this romance, but other than that, Soul's Desire is a decent, enjoyable romance between two person who, in other circumstances, would've been on opposite sides of the law.
Thing is, Detective Cole Wyatt has no idea that former cat burglar Zhara "Cat" Thorne and her albino pretty-much-adopted-lil' brother Mickey the Lizard are retired when he set a trap for them. The Cat and Lizard are now pretty much clean, doing their breaking-and-entering only upon the requests by people wanting to test their security systems. The resulting fiasco has Zhara falling and - ouchie - ending up in a wheelchair.
Here is where the plot gets sticky. Even before discovering that Zhara is retired and the whole "burglary" is planned with full knowledge of the "burgled" man, Cole is already having doubts about Zahra's guilt. Why? I have no idea - is it because she turns him on, I wonder? When he starts feeding her cat Catastrophe and all, I wonder what his superiors will have to say about such public service for those under his custody. Hey officer, can you clean my fridge too?
Such sticky blurring of cop/felon boundaries aside, what happens next is very readable romance as Zhara and Cole discover than they are more soul mates than adversaries. The romance is pretty slow but sweet, with understandable reluctance on both parties. Mickey's running afoul of the law after what he sees as betrayal on Zhara's part provides the grand show of heroism on Cole's part.
I really find myself rereading the early parts of this story and I can't help it: I still go Huh? at the scenes where Cole goes out of his way to take care of Zhara even before she is cleared of her charges. Still, what's left in Soul's Desire is fine romance to be savored. I'll be sure to look out for this author's future books.
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