Guest Review: Never As It Seems by Shiloh Walker

Posted November 10, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of Never As It Seems by Shiloh Walker.

Three years after he walked away and broke her heart, Leo is back in Chloe’s life and that’s the last place she wants him. Not that she has any choice in the matter. She’s in big trouble. She needs somebody to watch her back, and he’s the “somebody.”

Three years ago, Chloe dumped a bombshell in Leo’s lap. I’m psychic, she told him. As if he was supposed to believe that. His world is black and white, and he doesn’t buy into that mumbo-jumbo. Walking away from her damn near killed him, but he couldn’t be with somebody he couldn’t trust.

His new job? Keep Chloe safe. That’s it. he’s not supposed to touch her. He’s not supposed to make love to her. He’s not suposed to want her . . . need her . . . love her. But he can’t stop thinking about her, can’t stop dreaming about her. Now that she is back in his life, he can’t keep his hands off her either.

ESP. Empathics, visionaries, — actually all forms of psychic phenomena are still the subjects of intense, emotional debate by intellectuals and the academic community. There are those, like Chloe and her friend Nakia, who know their own abilities and gifts, and who respect the fact that the world has many aspects to it that are considered passe by those who want the world to be all clean lines and black and white. Usually it is only when one personally encounters such phenomenon that the mind is required to expand its consciousness or else lose a friend. It would appear that in spite of the love he supposedly had for Chloe, in spite of the nine months they had been involved in every way, he preferred walking away rather than allow his mind to be expanded beyond his comfort zone. Because of this a beautiful, sensitive, caring, and empathetic woman is now wounded and grieving.

But Leo’s future is now once again tied up with Chloe, only this time he must be her bodyguard against some people, and it is not known who that is, who wish her dead. His boss is adamant about Leo being the only security operative available to take this assignment. One gets the feeling that Leo’s boss may have an ulterior motive in assigning Leo to guard Chloe. Suffice it to say that it puts Leo and Chloe into a very difficult setting and neither one of them knows how they will get through the two weeks they will have to be secluded together.

In spite of the fact that their attraction has not lessened, in spite of the fact that they manage to sleep together immediately upon arrival at Leo’s secluded cabin, his opinion of Chloe’s abilities remains unchanged and her refusal to allow him back into her life is as staunch as ever. How can he say he loves her if he really doesn’t respect who she is and what she is? Good question.

This is a love story that poses a number of issues of trust, respect, the need to open one’s mind to possibilities, the fact that some people are not who they seem to be, and the good guys may really be the bad guys and vice versa. Chloe is to be admired for maintaining her sense of self and not giving in to Leo’s opinion of her, even though she wants him back into her life. And Leo deserves a thumb over the bridge of his nose for being so blind. He obviously has some choices to make. Whether or not he can make them is, of course, the conflict in the plot. I also think that this story brings to play the question of whether love really can conquer all. At least at the outset, it would appear not.

This is a short novel so it does not go on to any great extent. But its length is sufficient to tell the love story and the back story within which it is contained. There are some twists and turns that keep the reader engaged, and the ending is, IMHO a complete surprise. As always, Ms Walker writes with a sure hand and develops the story and the characters consistently–keeping pace with the storyline as well as expanding our knowledge of the people involved. Two of the characters I liked a lot were Chloe’s best friend Kia (short for Nakia) who understood her and who supported her in every way. I also really liked Dave, Leo’s boss, who accepted–even used Chloe’s psychic abilities to solve some of his investigative cases and who thought Leo was a schmuck. (He may have been Chloe’s schmuck, but he was still a schmuck.) Both those people were good friends to Chloe (and to Leo, even though he didn’t appreciate them in that way) and helped her through some tough times.

This was a very pleasant reading experience. I have to own up to my liking for Ms Walker’s work and for the variety of settings where her stories occur. She has a very respectable writing portfolio and this work is definitely one of her good ones. The tension between Leo and Chloe as well as the tension of the suspense story line keeps the reader riveted to the page and makes this a very satisfying read. I think romance fans as well as suspense fans will like it a lot. I give this short novel a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

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