Here's the description:
WHERE SECRETS SMOLDER . . .Calm. Cool. Collected. Gisele Whitby has perfected the art of illusion-her survival, after all, has depended upon it. Years ago, to escape an abusive husband, Gisele "disappeared." Now she must risk revealing her new identity to save another innocent girl from the same fate. But she needs a daring man for her scheme, and the rogue in question shows a remarkable talent . . . for shattering Gisele's carefully constructed facade and igniting her deepest desires.
. . . PASSION IGNITESThis isn't the first time Jamie Montcrief has awakened naked and confused from a night of drinking. It is, however, the first time a stunningly beautiful woman offers him payment afterward. Gisele has a business proposition for him, a mission involving cunning thievery and a brazen rescue. How can he say no to a plot this dangerous . . . and a woman this delectable?
Gisele is desperate. Time is very quickly running out to stop her abusive husband from taking a new wife. (Don't let the relationship here stop you. It is explained well, but not without spoilers.) She has to prevent him from subjecting another woman to what she knows lurks behind his facade of normalcy. The problem is, she can't stop him herself (spoilers!) so she has to recruit the perfect partner. She finds more than she bargains for when she stumbles across Jamie Montcrief. Gisele has been through more than any woman should have to bear, and is still so human. She's not a depressed, scared creature, but instead strong and honorable and determined. She takes risks but only ones that will help other people, nothing foolish or unthought out.
Jamie is a true hero. (I think I might always say that.) He's carrying a ton of guilt around with him from his war days, and he's not exactly legitimate, but aside from those minor things he's perfect. He Does The Right Thing. Jamie's backstory, while not as tragic as Gisele's is well done and you can see exactly how he ends up naked and hungover. When he realizes the gravity of the situation Gisele has hired him for, he doesn't hesitate.
Was the romance believable? Not entirely. It's hard to get a fix on just how long the story takes. At times it seems so quick and unbelievable, but at other times you think maybe weeks have passed. I want to think this in intentional- you need to believe there is a rush on stopping the wedding, but you also don't want it pointed out that they fell in love in a week. I didn't really see much of a falling in love, at least not on Gisele's part. It's not until she's confronted with Jamie's past that I felt that she saw much in him but lust.
Which brings me to one of my two quibbles- I had a hard time believing that their first "moment" together would have happened so early. No, I'm not talking upon meeting, but if the entire book is only a week or two? And this goes back to the unclear time line, I'm not sure how fast things happened. I felt that with Gisele's past, she probably wouldn't be so quick to make out with Jamie. My other quibble is that at times the dialogue felt too modern. This is common in romance novels. I think inexperienced authors often fall to the too modern or too stilted side of things. I'm willing to overlook this in a debut author, and can honestly say I enjoyed the dialogue tremendously, even if it was out of time, and am happy to give Bowen a second chance. I feel like she has a lot of potential and an eagerly awaiting the sequel, A Good Rogue is Hard to Find.