Grade: 3.5 stars
Goodreads appetizer: Heartsick over the untimely death of her mother, Allison Caldwell is blindsided again by the secret revealed in her mom’s will. Her supposedly dead father is alive, and she and her two sisters must find him in order to settle the Caldwell estate.
Robert Rivera, private investigator and former Navy SEAL, alerts Allison to new intel identifying her father as a P.O.W. in Afghanistan. With her sisters out of the country pursuing leads, Allison insists on heading to the war-ravaged country to find him. Robert doesn’t want his naïve client to take the risk. He knows what danger lays in that godforsaken land…he’s lived through it. Barely.
But Allison is determined to go, and Robert can’t let her travel alone. Reluctantly appreciative, Allison quickly realizes how much she needs his guidance and protection, and how deeply she longs for his love. Robert struggles to understand her effect on his battle-weary heart.
The path to Allison’s father is blocked by terrorists, traps and treachery—all demons of Robert’s past. Can he survive a second round with the enemy and keep Allison out of harm’s way?
My Thoughts: Entice Me is the third and final instalment in Lucianne Rivers' Caldwell Sisters trilogy and this time we follow the youngest sister, Ally in her quest to find their father in Afghanistan.
Ally is twenty-five, the youngest of the sisters, she is "sheltered, innocent, naive", and heartbroken over the death of her mother. Robert is 16 years her senior but despite the absurdity of their age difference the chemistry between them is undeniable.
Despite the short time, the suddenness, and how little they know each other, I can see and believe they fell in love, somehow Lucianne Rivers made it credible. Notwithstanding, I felt that with everything going on, the development of Ally and Roberts' relationship didn't read as smoothly as the previous two, it wasn't as detailed and felt a bit rushed.
However, kudos to Lucianne for keeping the story realistic both in details of the romance (glad she didn't make the hero/heroine forget about the dangers of unprotected sex, that is one of my pet peeves), and the mystery storyline (how Robert didn't play the invincible hero and try to run into a cave full of armed terrorists to free a prisoner by himself). I also applaud how she doesn't gloss over Robert as a military hero and his background but shows him human, shows the reader that he is not invincible and the war has greatly affected and scarred him. Despite the shortness of the novella Lucianne Rivers managed to draw a well-fleshed out and complex character portrayal for Robert. I loved discovering the different layers of his personality and past.
One of the main highlights of Entice Me are once again the very realistic and vivid descriptions of the location. Lucianne Rivers' descriptions of the exotic setting and picturesque landscapes of Afghanistan are just as evocative and vibrant as in the previous two books. The descriptions of the mountains and cities read so realisticly as if she had been there and was telling about her own personal impressions.
Entice Me had the most action in the trilogy with three mystery storylines going on (1) the story of the girls' father: where he spent the last twenty years - 2) Robert's fatal past mission and 3) tracking down Zach now), so it is understandable some other parts had to be shortened. I just feel sorry it was at the detriment of Ally's character. I'm sorry we didn't get to know her well, all we know is that she deeply grieves her mother and is naive and hopefully romantic.
Verdict: I loved Hold Me and Thrill Me the previous stories in the trilogy and I was looking forward to Entice Me a lot. It is still very good, but compared to the previous ones I felt this one was a bit rushed and not as deeply developed/detailed as the other two. Still great and entertaining, and if I hadn't read the other two first I would have rated it higher. Lucianne Rivers is an author to watch and I can't wait to read other stories from her!