Hold Me

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, #1

Sad at her mother's passing, news anchor Jane Caldwell, is thrown for a loop during the reading of her mother's will. Jane is shocked to discover the father she thought was dead for the last twenty years may still be alive. Her mother's last wishes unleash a manhunt; Jane and her two sisters will have to locate man who may be their father or be unable to settle her mother's estate. The questions about his disappearance might never be answered.

Jane's search takes her to Guatemala to locate one of the men claiming to be her father and a partial heir to the family fortune. Not speaking the language, Jane encounters numerous travel issues until she can find a translator to smooth the way. A sexy and mysterious ex-patriot, Harrison DeNueve has a thing for wearing dark sunglasses in public but is willing to help Jane as she tries to locate her missing father.

As Jane struggles to get her bearings in a foreign environment, Harrison fights his desire for Jane. He's got secrets too, like the one he's hidden himself in a third world jungle hideaway to keep safe. Falling for Jane could put more than his heart at risk.

As Jane finds two men in Guatemala, a father and a lover, will she be able to trust either one?

Hold Me by Lucianne Rivers is the first book in her Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kill Me romantic suspense series. It's a fast paced novella with some interesting twists and a little bit of hot loving. The characters are fairly well developed, though I would have liked just a touch more background on the Caldwell family and on the "missing" father.

Struggling with her mother's recent death, Jane Caldwell and her two sisters, Allison and Margo, meet the family attorney for the reading of her mother's will when they all get a shock. Instead of the estate being divided as they had originally thought, with the family farm being given to Allison, who stayed home and took care of their ailing mother, and the remaining part of the estate being divided between Jane and Margo, it's been split four ways with one part going to their father, a man they've all thought died in Iraq during the war.

Finding out their mother had changed her will in the last month and had been keeping secrets was devastating but being the take charge women they are, the three girls get the information their mother had received from a private detective and Jane and Margo take off to discover which of the two men claiming to be their father is the real deal. Allison is supposed to stay home and take care of the ranch. Taking off to Guatemala in a rush, Jane isn't prepared for traveling in countries where she doesn't speak the language and didn't pack the correct clothes to go on a manhunt. Jane didn't plan on falling in love while she was looking for her father.

Harrison DeNueve is an American traveling on business and hiding out in the Guatemalan jungle. Though he wants to mind his own business, he just can't stop himself from helping a fellow traveler when she has problems trying to buy an air plane ticket taking her from Mexico to Guatemala. When Jane continues to put herself in dangerous situations, due to her lack of being able to speak Spanish, Harrison finds himself becoming her guide/protector and Spanish translator. While Harrison really wants to get to know Jane in a more personal way, the secrets in his past and his vow to be a different man than he previously was get in the way. He never planned on falling for a woman whose needs would require him to put her safety first and relinquish his secrets.

The scenes between Jane and Harrison are well written but I left me frustrated with Jane's character. Jane went from being a successful and intelligent woman at the beginning of the story to a woman who made continuous bad choices and didn't plan as she went on her journey. Harrison has to rescue her numerous times and while that worked out great for the romance, it didn't say much about her being a modern day woman. Harrison's secrets are pretty big but added a good twist to the story and an additional layer of complexity, which actually made me like him the more. When they finally arrive in Guatemala and become lovers, I found myself identifying with him more than I did with Jane.

The end of the story focuses on the man claiming to be Jane's father, Zach Caldwell, and on the return journey they all make to the Caldwell "Five C Ranch" in New Mexico. Can Jane really trust her new lover when all of his secrets are exposed and is the man they've brought home really her father? You'll have to read Hold Me to find out. I'm looking forward to seeing where Ms. Rivers takes this series next when we get Margo's story in September when the second book of the series, Thrill Me, is released.

Book Blurb for Hold Me

Still reeling from her mother’s death, news anchor Jane Caldwell’s life is upended further when she learns the father she lost twenty years ago is still alive. Her mother’s will unleashes a manhunt—the Caldwell sisters must find their father, or their mother’s estate will not be settled, and their questions about his disappearance will remain unanswered.

Jane’s search leads her to Guatemala to investigate a man who claims to be her father and heir to the family fortune. Needing a translator, she enlists enigmatic Harrison DeNeuve, a sexy ex-patriot with a penchant for wearing dark sunglasses in public.

As Jane struggles to reunite with her would-be father, Harrison fights to suppress his desire for Jane. He has a secret—one he’s sequestered himself in a third-world jungle hideaway to keep safe—and falling for Jane puts more than his heart at risk.

Jane finds two men in Guatemala—a father and a lover—but can she trust either of them? 

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2011 3.50