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Review: Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

24871110The queen of romantic suspense returns with a heart-racing tale in which a former soldier turned rancher and a beautiful designer race to stop a vicious killer—a battle for survival that threatens to explode in an intense and irresistible passion

An art dealer and owner of her own design studio, Perfect Touch, Sarah “Sam” Maddox travels the world to find the ideal artwork for her clients. Her sophisticated, comfortable life in San Francisco is light years away from the poverty of her family’s dairy farm, and Sam will do whatever it takes to keep her business strong. A dedicated urban career woman focused on her work, she doesn’t have time or energy for a family or distracting romantic entanglements.

Jay Vermillion recently inherited Vermillion Sky, a working ranch near Wyoming’s breathtaking Grand Teton Mountains—and the estates of the rich and restless. While he was fighting in two wars, his father tried to keep the homestead running, until illness stole his fight and then his life. Jay’s determined to restore Vermillion Sky, but first he’s got to settle a vicious battle with his former stepmother over some of his late father’s paintings. The last thing on his mind is a finding a wife and creating a sixth generation of Vermillions. 

When Jay hires Sara to handle his father’s artwork, it’s love at first sight—a mutually inconvenient attraction that is soon complicated by a double murder at the edge of the ranch and a potential betrayal even closer to home. Working together to unmask a murderer, Sara and Jay try to fight the intense heat between them. Then the killer targets Sara. And suddenly, Jay, the war-weary soldier, finds something he’s once again willing to die for . . .

This is my first book by Elizabeth Lowell, and while I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started, Perfect Touch ended up being a perfect summer read to wrap up my beach vacation.

When the story begins, we learn that Sara and Jay have already met – virtually and by phone – and that they have established a solid relationship. I was glad this was established from the beginning, as it transformed the attraction between Jay and Sara from “insta-love” into something built on more. It’s also a fast-paced start to the book, as we jump right in with Sara finding her hotel room ransacked. This is only the first incident where she has to think on her feet, and I enjoyed that she was clearly a capable and intelligent woman who was no shrinking violet in the face of adversity.

Both Sara and Jay reveal themselves to us slowly, and they have complications in their past that they must work through before they can really accept that they have a relationship together. Sara refuses to go back to life on the ranch after experiences in her childhood, while Jay has to come to terms with a rocky childhood of his own and a vindictive stepmother who wants to take everything. Add in to this the missing paintings of a celebrated artist and the realities of life on a huge ranch, and there’s a lot of scope to this book.

Probably my favourite part of the story revolved around the mystery and search for Custer’s artwork. While fictional, there was so much detail given and Sara’s character was so passionate about the paintings that I half wished that they were real! The setting was also a major draw; Lowell has the ability to paint a vivid picture of the area, and she makes you want to visit Jackson and the Grand Tetons yourself.

For me, there was a slight slow down in the narrative during the journey from the main ranch to the Fish Camp, but the suspense level jumped considerably once Jay and Sara arrived at camp. One of the characters was clearly a bad guy, but the twists and turns made the reveal just as intense. There’s a scene on a mountainside that reads as if it is straight from a Hollywood blockbuster, and you won’t want to put the book down until it’s over.

We still have a couple of great weeks of summer weather left here in Ontario, and this is just the thing to slide into your bag as you head off for some cottage relaxation. Just be sure to let everyone know not to disturb you as you’ll want to read it straight through.

A copy of this book was provided by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. It is available now from your favourite indie bookseller, Indigo or Amazon. ISBN: 9780062328342, 368 pages. 

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