Amanda Lane is a woman bent on vengeance. Her sister was recently murdered, her classified work as a chemist linked with terrorists. Amanda is certain that the recent change in her sister’s career, and the modeling agent she was in love with, had something to do with it. She’ll use all her skill as an FBI agent to figure this mystery out…if dashing private security guru Bolt Tanner doesn’t distract her too much!
In other reviews, both Anne and I have complained about stories where the chemistry was too fast–the protagonists see each other, and then are abruptly tearing each other’s clothes off. To be fair, in the Harlequin Blaze line, it’s kind of expected; these are hot stories, and you don’t have a lot of pages to worry through a lot of plot twists and turns. But in this case, for a change, it’s actually mandatory to the plot!
Bolt’s private firm has been asked to recover a priceless artifact that was stolen by someone working for the same modeling agent that Amanda is suspecting of complicity in her sister’s death. At his boss’s insistence, they end up as partners. The artifact is a perfume bottle, said to have some supernatural power; it makes the owner absolutely irresistible. The unscrupulous Hathaway, naturally, is using this bottle to keep the women around him attracted to him. When Amanda first gets a taste of the bottle’s power, Bolt is with her, and things get steamy super-fast!
So Bolt comes up with an arrangement for his new partner–keep Amanda’s bottle-amped libido satisfied, so that she doesn’t fall under Hathaway’s spell!
Implausible? Oh, certainly. But that’s why they call this fiction, silly; you can do implausible things, and get away with it. Once the pieces start to fall into place, there’s no great surprises here–Hathaway figures out that his new employee is not as affected by his power as other women, and the new “security consultant” she recommended to him has something to do with it, so he arranges to separate them at a crucial moment, et cetera…and with the central plot elements being artificial, one might expect the characters to be rather flat and uninteresting…but, thankfully, this is not the case.
Our hero, Bolt, is properly skeptical of the bottle’s reputation when he first takes on the assignment–but a job’s a job, and it gives him a chance to work with Amanda, so he’s in. He quite-properly feels a little bad about taking advantage of the power that the bottle has over Amanda, and also wonders if her growing love for him is real, or the influence of the bottle. He feels “real” enough, to me. Amanda, too, is deeper than one might expect for this sort of tale. She’s a tough FBI agent, used to doing things for herself, and is stunned and shocked by the helpless feelings she gets under the bottle’s power, and she, like Bolt, wonders if the way they feel about each other is being driven by the bottle, or not. Even the villain is given enough back-story and internal dialogue to be an understandable person; the question one often asks of villains, “Why would they do that?” is coherently answered within the story’s pages.
The intimate scenes in this book happen in some fairly-unusual places, are being driven by external forces that make them not entirely consensual, and are particularly intense, so I have given this book a Very Explicit rating on the Explicitness scale. The non-consent element falls just short of making it a Fetish/Kink/Extreme rating–if it were not so central to the plot, and so well-explained, it would have been a bit over the top for my tastes. But don’t let that scare you off! Uncontrollable is a really good story, well-crafted and beautifully executed. Enjoy!