Two Novels By Marilyn Pappano

18 Sep
  • Forbidden Stranger
  • Intimate Enemy

Marilyn Pappano – Forbidden Stranger

GENRE: Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHED: Silhouette Romantic Suspense, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: nothing in particular, but I liked another novel I read by Pappano + I had a 10% coupon

The back blurb:
“Exotic dancer Amanda Nelson escaped poverty and had left behind a trail of painful memories. But soon she would retire her stilettos for a new life. Then Rick Calloway sauntered into the club and took her breath away. The new bartender had a connection to her past…and a girlfriend. He was wrong for Amanda in every way.
Only Rick wasn’t a bartender. And he didn’t have a girlfriend. Working under-cover to investigate the disappearances of several dancers, Calloway should have remained focused on the case, not Amanda. Or so he told himself. Their mutual attraction was dangerously inconvenient. But maybe it was what they both needed to live through another night…”

I don’t think this novel is exactly part of a series, but Pappano also wrote a story about one of Rick’s brothers (Mitch), and Intimate Enemies (see below) is the story of Russ, another brother of Rick.

I liked Forbidden Stranger for its characters (genuine, adult) and the romance (some nice written tension there). It’s an enjoyable and smoothly written novel with good dialog. I especially liked how Pappano wrote Amanda’s character. Amanda is a stripper and she’s not apologetic about it. It’s hard work and if someone thinks bad of her for it, she no longer cares. Both Amanda and Rick are attracted to each other and both have several (valid) reasons why they shouldn’t get close to the other. They also have family baggage and, unknown to Rick, they have a connection there (Rick’s brother Robbie). At the end, not all of it is resolved happily (which I appreciated). There’s Amanda’s mother, and it’s clear that Robbie won’t be easily (if at all) redeemed in Amanda’s eyes.

Small problems: Rick’s attraction to Amanda appears sudden (he already works with her for several weeks) and therefore seemed too much for the sake of the story and the mystery part of the plot was a bit iffy, IMO. I didn’t buy the reason for Rick’s under-cover work and I wasn’t so sure of the way it resolved itself at the end. But I was willing to go along with it because 1) I’m not much into mystery anyway and 2) the romance is clearly the focus of this story so I didn’t bug me enough to make the story less enjoyable.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.
Would I read this novel again? Probably yes (for the romance).
Grade: 4 – / 5

Marilyn Pappano – Intimate Enemy

GENRE: Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHED: Silhouette Romantic Suspense, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: old lovers reunited plot + I liked another novel I read by Pappano + 10% coupon

The back blurb:
“God help him, he despised Jamie Munroe…
…but not enough to try to kill her. In court, she’d helped his greedy ex-wife steal his fortune. In town, Jamie pretended he didn’t exist. And yet, even she had to remember the hot chemistry they’d once shared in law school. A crazy part of him wanted to remind her…and keep her safe.
Even though Russ Calloway had broken her heart years ago–and she was ashamed how often she watched him from her office window–accepting his protection felt so natural. Especially as her stalker’s threats escalated. Where else did she feel safe but in the arms of her enemy?”

Intimate Enemies is the story of Jamie and Russ, another of the Calloway brothers from the small town Copper Lake, Georgia. Jamie and Russ have a history. They had been lovers for a few months in college when Russ dumped Jamie for his future wife, Melinda. They stayed friends, but that changed when Jamie became Melinda’s lawyer in Russ’s and Melinda’s divorce even though he was the wronged part (Melinda cheated shamelessly). That was three years ago, and ever since Russ calls Jamie by some not very nice names, taking his grudge against his ex-wife out on her.

Contrary to what the back blurb makes the reader believe, it’s Jamie who can’t forget the hot chemistry between them, not Russ. For Jamie, their relationship was serious with thoughts about marriage; for Russ, it was “friends with benefits.” I thought it a nice twist that Russ is bitter about the fact that his ex-wife regarded his love, marriage and sex with him the same way he regarded that with Jamie when they were together. Like Forbidden Stranger, Intimate Enemies is a good written story with appealing and adult characters and if not for the things mentioned in the next paragraph, it probably would have been a 4,5/5.

There was one thing I felt uneasy about with the mystery plot (spoilerish) and Russ does something huh?-worthy at the end, but on the whole, I thought the way the mystery plot progressed believable.

Incidentally, Robbie, Rick’s (and Russ’s) idiot (and some more) brother in Forbidden Stranger, is a good friend of Jamie in this novel but it’s hinted at that he and Amanda (heroine Forbidden Stranger) are still far from being on civil terms. I assume he’ll get his own story some day and it’ll be interesting if (and how) this is resolved. I’ll surely buy it.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.
Would I read this novel again? Yes.
Grade: 4 / 5


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