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    Excellent Romantic Suspense

    While I love watching revenge movies, filled with action & adventure, romantic suspense is not my usual genre to read. I'm so glad I took a chance on Marlene M. Bell's Stolen Obsession. Annalisse is an antiquities appraiser. She's brilliant at her job, can spot fakes a mile away. But behind her professional and beautiful veneer, she lives in fear. Fear that her best friend's murderer will walk away free. Fear that anyone who gets close to her will die, just like her parents did. It's easy for Annalisse to believe in curses when she's a living example. So when she spots a variation of the same cursed jewelry that brought about her best friend's death, she panics. The night the killer strikes again, also happens to be the night Alec, her older friend's gorgeous son, finally notices her. In a typical romance novel, this would be the part where the couple would fall in love, or into bed for the first time. Instead, the murderer strikes again, and Alec is determined to protect the woman he's secretly long admired. Alec quickly discovers Annalisse won't fall into his arms like most women. Soon they are swept into a flight for their lives, and the murderer is closing in. Whoever is after them believes the necklace belongs to them, and they'll kill to get it. The pace of the story moved along swiftly and drew me in from the first page. The suspense is well crafted and had me on the edge of my seat several times, wondering who was in on the conspiracy. The romance in this book was very solid. Occasionally, the back and forth banter reminded me of Old Hollywood films. Instead of feeling cheesy, it made Alec & Annalisse's interactions fun and sweet. I loved all the nods to history and the author's vivid description, which made for a lovely read. A sweeping romantic and often deadly adventure, Stolen Obsession is my new standard for excellent suspense fiction.
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