Kill Me Twice -- Roxanne St. Claire
Book 1 of Bullet Catchers series
2005 Release -- Pocket Books
Adult, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Bodyguards
As the first book in Roxanne St. Claire's Bullet Catchers series, Kill Me Twice was decently enjoyable, entertaining, and exciting. It's not the most outstanding Romantic Suspense I've ever read, but it does involve a clichéd trope that I've always had a soft spot for as well as a decidedly nice spin to make said trope more fun.
And since the entire series pretty much hinges on this particular trope--Bodyguards in a Romantic Suspense--I’ve been very much looking forward to this series for some time now.
Alex Romero is one of Lucy Sharpe's best Bullet Catchers (aren't they all) who is actually on probation from a slightly messy screw-up trickling in from a previous mission. Apparently, Pretty Boy Romero has a problem keeping his passionate charms to himself when guarding the clients (of which they term “principal”), and brings on the flirt and the seduction in waves. Not that he does anything to keep himself from falling for seductions, really, according to all his fellow Bullet Catchers, but it’s not like he goes into the mission trying to seduce his clients… or their wives.
But that's a moot point because now Alex has been sent on his new mission to babysit a top news anchor at the request of a friend of Lucy's--kind of like a chance to redeem himself. Eager to get his messy reputation behind him, Alex agrees to be the bodyguard for one Jessica Adams who has recently seen a string of nasty stalker letters that her boss doesn't think she's taking seriously.
Of course, being a Romantic Suspense, it would be totally obvious that Jessica Adams is pretty much a gorgeous, refined woman with the body of a supermodel. I think it’s safe to say that Alex is not amused with this “test” his boss is giving him. After all, it’s not like he doesn’t know how to appreciate a beautiful and sexy woman, right?
Jasmine Adams is a private investigator who was once in the news, media, and journalism field some time ago. But the spotlight and the politics of public television never sat well for her and so she took up a less attention-grabbing job--and to her a more satisfying career--as a PI. Always feeling like the needy, helpless younger twin sister to successful and ambitious Jessica Adams who has her entire life together, Jazz practically jumps at the chance to help her twin out when Jessica sends her a request.
The idea is that Jasmine needs to fall off the grid for some time in order to follow a big, network-breaking story, but no one is to know that she's gone. Jasmine's role, as the identical twin sister, is to pretend to be Jessica for about a week until she's done.
Except when Jasmine arrives at her sister's home, Jessica seems to be nowhere to be found. Instead, Jazz must work with her twin sister's new bodyguard as they begin to uncover some sinister plot that Jessica managed to stumble into, leading Jasmine further and further into dangerous territory.
As I had already stated, Kill Me Twice isn't the most outstanding Romantic Suspense in the world, but it was definitely exciting (to an extent), entertaining, and enjoyable. There were moments when things felt a little flat and mediocre, but I take that as part of the whole "Getting to Know You” dance that we get to play with the usual “First Book in a Series”. If I continue to enjoy the rest of the series (which I have every intention of continuing), I might feel a little different about this book a couple weeks down the line.
For its part, Kill Me Twice introduces, quite smoothly and tactfully, a group of interesting characters in the Bullet Catcher's organization. Lucy Sharpe is ex-CIA and manages the Bullet Catchers as their fearless leader--she comes off cold and calculating, but deep down, it seems that she truly DOES care about her little Bullet Catcher family… even though she is one hundred percent willing to manipulate her own people to get results. The names of other agents are also dropped along with interesting descriptions and their own unique personalities: Dan Gallagher and Max Roper, as well as a female Bullet Catcher named Raquel who hasn’t yet graduated outside of deskwork, but who is described as a genius with a computer. I suspect we will see more of these characters soon as I flip through the rest of the series' books' summary blurbs in curiosity.
Alex Romero is the typical alpha male with a hot-head and a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to his job, but with a suave and charming personality that women fall head-over-heels in love with--though I must say, I’ve never really been much taken with the whole “sexy Latin lover” thing myself. Some of his antics come off a bit cheesy to me, but I can see the appeal for lots of other women. And so to make his job harder, he's apparently also got a pretty face and a very active libido (refer to the messy previous mission wherein a problem with seduction happened). Enter Jasmine Adams who is not only NOT the woman he's supposed to be guarding, but also a woman who is fiercely independent with the ability to take care of herself just fine, thank you very much, and Alex pretty much has his hands full.
While Alex didn't necessarily stand out too much, he was also a pretty good equal to Jazz. However, it truly is Jasmine that stood out for me despite having unfortunate TSTL moments where she just needed to admit that there are other options besides walking right into danger when she knew it was there. Other times, however, I DO agree that Alex's overbearing intimidation got a little paranoid and out of hand. But otherwise, I liked that Jazz was a competent investigator with great computer skills and the ability to kick some butt when it's necessary.
And I liked that Alex admitted and respected that about her and stopped trying to get all manhandle-y (yes, I know that's not a word) with her. Which brings us to the Romance part of the story, which I thought was done quite well, if you can see past the end-hour unnecessary angst. The insta-lust was strong, but the romance didn't overpower the rest of the book's storyline and it didn't get in the way of our main couple's ability to get things done.
The relationship's chemistry was pretty good, but I'm more satisfied with the equal-opportunity partnership between our lovebirds as they worked together investigating Jessica's strange disappearance than I was with their abilities to romance each other.
Overall Thoughts: Kill Me Twice definitely DID impress as a first book in a series. At least it was exciting enough with intriguing enough characters to lure me into continuing on with the rest of the books. If the rest of the Bullet Catchers series has the same vein of spunky heroines and respectable alpha heroes, then I'm totally game.
I certainly became interested to see what kind of woman it takes to turn the straight-laced, rule-following Max Roper into putty.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):