Tempting Fate by Carla Neggers

 Tempting Fate by Carla Neggers

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages – Publisher: Mira; Reprint edition (August 1, 2008 ) – Language: English – ISBN-10: 0778325865 – ISBN-13: 978-0778325864

Back of the Book reads:

Will history repeat itself?


Despite her success as a young entrepreneur, Dani Pembroke is a haunted woman. Long ago, her mother vanished without a trace, leaving Dani to live with her wealthy relatives who have their own questionable pasts. Although the residents of Saratoga Springs, New York, suspect that Lilli Pembroke’s disappearance will never be solved, Dani is confident that she will find the truth one day.

That day draws near when security expert Zeke Cutler arrives in Saratoga. The two join forces in an effort to find out what really happened to Lilli Pembroke. But Dani is unaware that her fearless partner has his won reasons for uncovering the truth … and that their search is putting them on track to collide with a killer who will do anything to keep that secret buried.

Tempting Fate at Amazon.com

Tempting Fate at Chapters.ca

Tempting Fate at Amazon.ca

8-Sep-08 to 10-Sep-08

Review: Full of suspense and mystery but almost predictable.

Much to the chagrin of her Chandler relatives, Danielle Chandler Pembroke (Dani Pembroke) has returned to Saratoga Springs and has become an entrepreneur. Opening the Pembroke home as a hotel and re-opening the bottling plant (Pembroke mineral water), rumors begin to fly that she is over-extending her funds and is in trouble. The family is one edge as well – 25 years ago, Lilli Chandler Pembroke, her mother, had gone missing, never to be seen or heard from again. But Dani is determined – not only to persevere in spite of what others and her family thinks of her thriving business, but to figure out what happened to her mother as well.

Ezekiel Cutler (Zeke), a security expert, receives a note from Dani’s estranged great-aunt; seems there is more to Lilli’s disappearance than most people would like to believe. He’s come to Saratoga Springs to figure out what happened and seek justice for his dead brother, Joe.

First, Dani finds a Pembroke gold gate key, believed to be the key that Lilli was wearing around her neck when she disappeared. Someone breaks into her cottage and ransacks it, taking the matching gold and brass keys and gives Dani a shove before escaping. While waiting in her garden, Zeke enters her life. Believing him to be her attacker, she throws a bottle at his head, runs through the house, grabbing a cast-iron frying pan and her car keys and races to the front, only to find Zeke leaning against her car door.

Zeke wants Dani to trust him, but he’s mysterious, evasive with answers to her questions and Dani doesn’t trust him in the least. Especially when he gets close – mysterious and evasive are enough to distrust him, and his looks and manner don’t help in the least. He’s too good-looking, and Dani believes she has enough on her plate than to be distracted by him.

More events begin to happen; someone ransacks room 304, Zeke’s room. More facts arise but don’t fit each other. Her father, who has come back to Saratoga at his father’s request, is attacked while roaming the grounds. While in the forest on Pembroke grounds, Ira has come looking for Dani, only to be attacked, believed by the same man who attacked her father. And while all this is going on, her grandfather and grandmother both come back to Saratoga. As if Dani didnt’ have enough to worry about, now the press is hounding her as well. More attacks, shootings, and confrontations make up a lot of the suspenseful and tenseful scenes.

Despite it all, Dani and Zeke are determined to find out what happened to Lilli.

I found Dani to be a strong woman, one who goes after what she wants, despite threats and concerns from her relatives. When rumors begin to fly that she’s over-extending herself and facing financial ruin, she is determined more than ever to make her businesses succeed, regardless if the notorious Pembroke name has everyone believing otherwise. I think in spite of it, Dani is proud to be a Pembroke, even if the two most important men in her life, her father and grandfather, have let her down time and again. She’s determined to rise above.

Zeke enters her life in a rather strange way. His evasiveness to talk about himself or his past has her on alert and distrustful. And no matter how much she wants to distrust him, he still manages to get under her skin.

One strange thing leads to another, and both become even more determined to find out what happened to Dani’s mother – for completely seperate reasons. Dani hasn’t seen nor heard from her mother in 25 years, since she was nine years old. Not knowing makes the past all that more painful. For Zeke, the disappearance seemed to disturb his brother, who was killed in combat overseas. After the pulitzer prize winning book, Joe Cutler: One Soldier’s Rise and Fall written by Quint Skinner, had disturbed Zeke the most. By the end of the novel, Joe was no longer the brother he knew and loved, and he believed that there was a reason for it, that Lilli’s disappearance played a part of it. Quint had been a soldier beside Joe when Joe was killed, and Zene believed that Quint knew more than he was telling. 

The suspense and tension had this reader flipping the page, the mystery constantly in my mind. The action picks up as more attacks and shootings begin to happen, adding more to the mystery. But Dani figures it out first, putting her in a position she never dreamed she’d be in, and Zeke comes to the rescue, figuring it out right after Dani. I thought the ‘who’ was slightly predictable, but the why wasn’t. It was the scenes after the end of the mystery that I thought was a great added touch: two estranged sisters (Dani’s grandmother, Mattie, and great-aunt, Naomi) finally reunited, Mattie and Nick still love each other, even if they couldn’t be together. When Zeke had left, he told Dani that she’d have to find him if she wanted him. Everyone at the Pembroke pitched in a plane ticket, and with Zeke’s partner’s directions, Dani hunts Zeke down. A perfect ending.



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