Once Upon A Romance

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An Unforgettable Lady by J.R. Ward writing as Jessica Bird


Cover art: An Unforgettable Lady Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: An Unforgettable Lady
Author: J.R. Ward writing as Jessica Bird
Publisher: Signet
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-23101-7
Release Date: Re-released July 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic Suspense
Year/Setting: Present day, New York City
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Jessica/J.R.'s Website/Blog: www.jessicabird.com and www.jrward.com

Grace Hall is a wealthy woman and socialite. She’s one of the most influential women in Manhattan. Unfortunately, this makes her a target for a serial killer. He’s murdering the women featured in a newspaper article one at a time. When will Grace become the next victim? To protect herself, she knows she needs to get bodyguards and enlists the help of her friends to find the best bodyguards.

John Smith is a top-notch security specialist who knows he can protect anyone who will follow his rules. He’s a dangerous man who doesn’t have a past. He has no family and no ties to anyone beyond his handpicked team of coworkers. Grace sparks an interest in him that he’s never felt before and the thing he desires most is the last thing he wants. He doesn’t want to protect Grace because he’d have to move into her penthouse…but he knows he’d have trouble walking away from protecting her.

As the killer works his way down the list of women, Grace knows that her luck is running out. The police have no leads and no suspects. Her best friends are being brutally murdered and she’s fighting to keep her place in her father’s foundation while fighting to stay alive. And throughout it all, she finds herself deeply attracted to John…a man who refuses to connect beyond a superficial level to anyone. She knows when the killer is caught he will be gone forever, but that doesn’t keep her from yearning for more.

Can they both follow the rules…or will their hearts guide them?

This book is from the early works of J.R. Ward when she was writing as Jessica Bird. Originally published in 2004, it has been re-released this year. I haven’t read any of Ward’s books, but she has a letter to her readers in the front of this re-release. After reading the letter and the book, I see what she’s saying. This was an early work when she didn’t have a system for writing. She would write by the seat of her pants. This lack of planning shows up throughout the story.

I really enjoyed the story and thought it moved smoothly from start to finish, but some of the suspense really fell flat. The killings weren’t foreshadowed or built up to, they just happened all of a sudden. Her lack of planning as an author kept the suspense from building and dominating the story. If you look at the book as more of a romance with a suspenseful twist, you will like it a lot better.

I also understand that J.R. Ward writes mainly vampire books now. If you are reading her old material looking for vampires, you won’t find it here. This is a mainstream line that makes a couple very vague references to the dark side that eventually becomes her current writings.

Grace and John were dynamic characters. They drew you into their heart and minds and from the start I found myself rooting for them to get together. Sometimes you can see the pain that is coming if they hook up, but you can’t stop yourself from hoping that out of the pain will come healing. Grace is a dynamo who many think is another dumb socialite. She’s got a mind like a steel trap and all those soft curves don’t hide the steel beneath. But when she becomes the hunted, we get to see a vulnerable side to her that is touching and endearing.

John is a strong alpha male who draws women to him like flies to honey. He keeps himself completely closed off from everyone—but we get to see his thoughts and his vulnerabilities. He is a man worth redeeming and I was hoping he’d let his wall crumble just enough to let Grace inside.

I thought it was a very enjoyable read and for those who don’t like too much suspense, this would be a perfect book for you. If you like to be on the edge of your seat and have sleepless nights from the suspense, you’ll want to check her later books.


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