Dear Ms. Sheedy:
Family dynamics are always rife with inherent conflict. You use the theme again in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye to good effect. While KTG was much more romantic than the first book I read, Without A Word, and while the suspense was strong, I thought that the ending was almost too pat with all the loose ends tied up too prettily.
Joseph Worth and his friend, Julius Zern, form Guardian , a company that offers bodyguard services to the rich and famous. Joe spots a hottie on the street near his office with blonde hair and legs that go on forever. Naturally, he immediately begins to weave her into his fantasies and when she shows up at his office door, he feels like his day can’t get much better. Unfortunately, the hot blonde, April, throws a cold shower on those fantasies when she says she is there about Joe’s mother.
Joe’s mother, biologically speaking, made him a ward of the state when Joe was four so he doesn’t have fond memories of his birth mother and his resentment toward being abandoned grows even stronger when he discovers that April refers to Phyllis Worth as “their” mother.
I loved the hero and heroine separately and somewhat together. They both give their point of view as to why they are attracted to each other. The tecnique of viewing one character’s assets through the lense of another character is very effective.
Joe on April: “ He picked up a few strands of hair, twirled them between his thumb and forefinger and watched his own play as though fascinated. “Until now, I’d have said, your legs were your best feature. Now”–"he took in a heavy breath–"”I’m not so sure. You have great hair. Long. Heavy. The kind that sweeps across a man’s chest during sex. Or lower if he’s really lucky.” He lifted some strands to his nose, breathed her in. “Smells like honey and roses.” He put his face to her ear, his breath a warm storm across her cheek, her neck. “
April on Joe: [H]e took off his suit jacket and–" surprise–"put it on a hanger before hooking it on an ancient coat tree. His waist was narrow; his shirt was pale blue–" the color of his eyes–"and his shoulders, now shifting under soft cotton, were immense. Guardian, indeed.
There was good dialogue:
“You know,” he said, his voice sounding low to his own ears, “what’s on my mind, don’t you?”
That little lip twist again, an irritating, beguiling half smile. “No. I don’t have a clue.”
He grinned. “Then maybe I should show you.”
“Try words first. They’re such a challenge for you.”
She was playing him. He liked playing–"especially when he had an edge. He slipped his other hand to her shoulder and with her delicate neck between both hands, he stroked her jaw with his thumbs. Her skin was soft and silky from the warmth of the shower. “I, Joseph Jonathan Worth, would very much like to kiss you.”
Problems included skanky villian sex. I’ve never understood the need to include those scenes. I’m not sure what characterization is achieved through them and I don’t find them titillating. I wanted to smack April for failing to give anything more than lip service to the the conflicted feelings Joe would have toward Phyllie. To some degree, I felt that the characterization of Phyllie was forced, as if Joe didn’t like her, neither would the readers or if Joe was ambiguous about her, the readers would be too, and that there would be something wrong with that. I actually felt that her character was compelling the way it was written and the near forcing of Joe to “love” her weakened the impact of the storyline. There was an emotionally rich drama that could have been mined for greater internal conflict and was disappointed to see how easily Joe’s antagonism toward his birth mother resolved, particularly when he was raised as a ward of the state.
One thing that I really liked about the previous book was the ambiguities in the villains and the good guys. In this story, however, there is no bad guy left unpunished and no “good” person left without a happy ending. The ending was a bit too saccharine for my tastes.
I think the parts were greater than the sum. I.e., the dialogue and interaction between the hero and heroine was great. I could definitely see why the two of them were attracted to each other. I was not, though, entirely sold on the “love” thing.
On the one hand, this story was much more relationship centered than the first book and it was still quite suspenseful with a strong romantic thread and likeable leads. It faltered, though, in convincing me that these two were “in love” and the ending, unlike in the first book, was almost too pat, too neat. B-