Across a Crowded Room by Elizabeth Marchat
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Other: M/F, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
After anti-terrorist agent Jason DesJardin survived the explosion that killed Emily Holmes’s father, he went deep undercover. Guilt and his dark past kept him from returning for her. When Emily discovers ties between the old bombing and the terrorists, she finagles an assignment to Jason’s next mission. The balance of world power drops into her inexperienced hands, and she is forced to play a dangerous game of seduction with Mosel Reinhardt, the notorious international arms dealer. Is Reinhardt peddling the nanotech chip technology, or are Emily’s instincts about him correct?
The mission heats up when Jason finds he can’t resist Emily—agency computer genius gone femme fatale—any more than Mosel can. After years of waiting to have her again, the tables turn. Jason is unwilling to share her now, but will he be able to watch her seduce Mosel in order to find her father’s killer? Would she stop if he asked her?
The very first chapter grabbed my emotions and put them through the ringer because of the very intense writing and subject matter. Ms. Marchat certainly started this book off with an attention snagging set up and I couldn’t stop reading.
The author also set up the reader with knowing who the bad guy is but nothing prepares the reader for just how diabolical things get. The emotional connections were forged early on in the story so a reader feels connected to the characters which makes for what happens more poignant, more stark and effective.
I liked the build up between the hero, Jason and the heroine, Emily. It was actually brewing for many years so it’s not a sudden thing but it’s very well played out and when they finally catapult into physical love it was explosive. But the author had a bit of a twist up her sleeve that I didn’t expect. It upped the ante on the internal conflict scales and Ms. Marchat certainly knew how to capitalize on the angst. And it ended up being the beginning of a very twisted and suspenseful romance riding on the back of one well told and intricate external conflict.
Emily grows up fast during the course of the story. She loses her innocent view of the world despite being intellectually informed about things; living them made the greatest impact. She turns into a very solid leading lady and shows her backbone and fortitude. She also gets to explore her sensual self but the results could be her undoing.
Jason was a leader from the get go but in this story his old pain and personal fears come back to haunt him. He’s fighting not only the bad guys but himself. He is a complicated personality and I liked how the author lets a reader in on his thoughts when the story is told from his point of view. Then again, I appreciated getting the other side of the coin from Emily as well. Ms. Marchat plotted out their growth individually and as a couple well and it kept my attention.
Interestingly enough, the bad guys get a bit of their point of view told in this story which surprised me. It was an interesting touch and made the stakes that much higher. I agreed with Emily, that even someone who is really bad has some good qualities, sometimes they’re even hard to resist. What an astonishing dilemma. Other secondary characters filled out the story with well balanced personalities that benefited and showcased the hero and heroine.
As for the external conflict, Ms. Marchat wrote an engrossing spy tale of suspense peppered with thwarted sensual tension that kept me flipping the pages.
Across a Crowded Room is a gripping tale of intrigue and suspense with tons of sensual teases and excitement to keep readers flipping pages at a furious pace. It has a satisfying happily ever after between characters I really connected to. I had a great time reading this story because I never knew where it was going to go and how justice would ultimately be served. Romantic suspense readers are going to get what they are looking for when they dive into Ms. Marchat’s well told tale. I’m so glad I read it.