Stroke by Marie Booth

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A stolen art collection. A life on the line. A desperate man.

Damien: The job is finished and the paintings are safe, but Frank is set on revenge. If I don’t get the art collection restored and delivered in six weeks’ time, I may never see my father again.

I’ll go to the woman’s studio, convince her to do the work, and pay whatever I have to ensure my father’s safety.
Only the restoration specialist is not what I expected. Her studio is immaculate, her work exemplary, but she’s frazzled and vulnerable and oh so tempting.

She's slow to trust, but somehow I have to convince this lovely creature to work for me.
She needs the money to save her studio. I’ll need the work done at my home. She can never find out the truth.

A grieving woman…

Cassandra: My brother chose to give up but I have to move forward. He was my closest friend, my business partner, only the books are in shambles.

If I don't get an art restoration job soon, I'm going to have to close my studio. The anonymous patron who purchases my paintings are all that’s keeping me solvent. Still it’s not enough.

Only today, despite the locked door, a man appeared and offered me a chance to turn my life around. Should I work for him? Trust him? His smile is a thing of beauty, his gaze is fire bright, but I’ve been burned before.

Maybe just a talk over dinner…

This author managed to pretty much wipe out my checklist of ‘must haves' for romance novels. The characters were loveable…or hateable as the need arose. Cassandra was a strong woman while not being emasculating. Damien's personality was tweaked by his upbringing, and I was pleased how he grew away from some sordid history. Frank was a lowlife…well described, and very fitting to his behavior. His son managed to rise above it all. The sex was steamy without using 7th grade words. yay. The story didn't drag and I never felt rushed. All things happened in their time. The story was very realistic and never felt contrived. I'm always glad when there is no human face on the cover. I want the author to describe the characters to me, enough so my imagination can create them in my mind. When the young, blonde hero on the front doesn't match with the curly dark hair the heroine is running her fingers through, we have a problem. The cover of “Stroke” was beautiful. The angst was just enough to keep me reading and not enough to overwhelm me so that I needed a rest between chapters. Good job. NOT a cliffhanger. Looking forward to the next book…Amazon Reviewer

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