Release Date: September 28, 2011
The best laid plans…Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star, dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that’s just in the first three hours.
…often go awry.
Trent Tomlin put his movie career on hold to investigate his brother’s murder-ruled-suicide at his Italian villa. He’s closing in on the suspects when an American tourist unwittingly films the murder of the retired cop helping him. The killers will stop at nothing to get the evidence—including holding Halli’s family as collateral.
Life’s a little different unscripted.
Thrust into the role of real-life hero, Trent finds himself falling for the Plain Jane whose beauty blossoms with every challenge they face. But how can he keep the evidence from falling into the wrong hands and get justice for his brother and friend without betraying Halli and her family?
After reading More Than a Kiss I knew I just had to get a hold of another of Stacey Joy Netzel's books. I had to see if her other books had that same "something" that made me like More Than a Kiss and its characters.
Now maybe it's just because Lost in Italy is a totally different from her other books but...
Lost in Italy has earned a spot in my "Must Always Be Within Reach" list because it's one of those books I will re-read over and over again. In short, I loved it! To me it was even better than More Than a Kiss.
What's not to love? You have the reluctant, slightly OCD heroine Halli who just wants to get away from her complicated family history and be her own person. She's so busy trying NOT to be like her parents that she really isn't enjoying life. Which is why her siblings, Rachel and Ben have dragged her on a trip to Italy and forced her to abandon her neatly organized activity itinerary. Unfortunately trouble finds her almost as soon as the book starts.
Then there's Trent, the charming, super famous but highly vulnerable hero, well, reluctant hero. He's just such a good guy that he won't let an innocent stranger get hurt, even if it means having to become a real life hero and protecting her. It's just his bad luck that he starts to fall in love with her in the middle of investigating his brother's death and running for their lives.
There's definitely some tension between Halli and Trent from the moment they meet, she thinks he's kidnapping her, he doesn't know what to think of her and even though she's terrified by the situation she finds herself in, Hallie doesn't take crap from anyone, especially Trent. This makes for some very amusing quips between the two, and of course, some very tense, steamy moments as well.
What I found interesting is the little bit of info provided in the beginning, the event in which Halli's siblings forget her and leave her behind was taken from an actual event in author Stacey Joy Netzel's life. Though she didn't end up in a life or death game like Halli, I found it amazing that siblings can actually forget each other on accident rather than on purpose, not that I'm admitting to anything of the sort mind you.
For me, the pacing of a story is very important. I don't have a lot of patience with slow stories, I need a moderate pace in the books I read or else I'm going to get bored and the story will become stale and forgettable. I don't want to read 100 pages of scenes that have zero importance to the story or with bland characters. I also don't care for stories that rush through events and bulldoze over character development just to get to the "sexy times." As much as I love "sexy times" in my romance novels, I need more than that. I need solid characters, I need them to have more than just sex between them, I love angst between characters and an actual story that tells how two characters went from strangers to lovers to happy ever after.
Lost in Italy gave me that PLUS great action scenes and a tough mystery to solve. There were twists and turns in not only the investigation into a murder but in the budding relationship between Trent and Halli.
Not to be outdone though is Halli's brother Ben. Now there's an interesting character. He isn't just there to be a supporting character, he really jumps out of the pages and grabs the attention whenever he's in a scene. There's something just under the surface with him that I can't quite put my finger on. He strikes me as the kind of man a woman would have to be nuts to take on. Which is why I loved Eva. Tough, sassy and smart, she just might be more than Ben can handle.
Definitely an example of Romantic Suspense at its best, Lost in Italy is exciting, fun, sexy and extremely difficult to put down. So make sure you don't have anything super important to do or trust me, it won't get done on time, if at all.
And just to make it a little hot in here, I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite scenes in the whole book:
He stalked forward, careful to hold back his frustration. Her eyes widened a little, otherwise she remained perfectly still when he braced a hand on either side of her hips."Where's the woman who lived life in the moment?" He leaned closer, searching for any crack in her composure, but the move backired when her fresh scent played havoc with his senses. His next words came out in a gruff whisper. "The one who not only stood by me through danger, but screamed my name as we made love?"
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