Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-552-7
Romantic Suspense, 2007
Our hero Reilly Murdoch, an ex-US Marine fellow turned PI, is wallowing in self-pity in Mexico when an old friend called him up and requested for a personal favor. Reilly finds himself playing bodyguard to our heroine Cassandra Van Winter. Cassandra feels that she is being followed by someone, a possibility that one would imagine is linked to her recent “discovery” of a valuable necklace, and has recently confided in her mother. This mother told the police who told Reilly’s friend and therefore, as they would say, it’s a small world indeed.
Cassandra is… odd. She’s being followed by someone, and yet when Reilly first shows up, she assumes that her mother hired Reilly to be Cassandra’s gigolo. Maybe this isn’t the first time her mother attempted to spice up Cassandra’s life. Cassandra insists that she is in no danger because, as Reilly puts it, “being followed, nearly suffocating in an air-tight room, and almost being hit by a car” are all “coincidences”. And yet she’s dangling the necklace around her neck without keeping it in a safe at all time. And then she gets mad when she thinks that her mother is spending her money on Reilly. You see, the Van Winter are up to several million dollars in debts and Cassandra is keeping this a secret while hoping to auction off the necklace to clear some of the debts.
Reilly’s Promise, therefore, is a story of the hero trying to protect the heroine even as she tries to sabotage his efforts constantly, either deliberately at first or accidentally when she decides to cooperate with him later on because she’s dim-witted that way. She keeps important information and other unnecessary secrets from the hero, she leaves her phone somewhere else when the hero needs to call her, that kind of thing.
Frankly, this one isn’t much of a story where I am concerned when I think that the imbecile heroine isn’t worth all the trouble the hero goes through to ensure her safety.