Title: High Heeled Wonder
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: Killer Style
Genre: Contemporary romantic suspense
Format read: ebook
Rating: 3 1/2 stars, C+ rating
Sylvie Bissette may be one of Harbor City’s youngest glitterati, but only her best friends know her most closely guarded secret. She’s the woman behind The High-Heeled Wonder, a must-read blog for fashionistas everywhere. Gossip, fashion advice, exposés. Too bad some people can’t take a little criticism. When an internet troll discovers her secret identity and escalates from stalking her to threatening her life, Sylvie turns to security expert Tony Falcon for help. The investigator from the other side of the tracks is the olive oil to her Evian water and aggravates her to no end, but it’s not just her temper he’s inciting…
Tony Falcon wouldn’t know a kitten heel from a tabby cat, but since most of the bad guys he tracks down aren’t wearing stilettos, it’s never been a problem…until he meets Sylvie. When a murder investigation leads him to the same place Sylvie works, he realizes the feisty fashionista may be his best chance at catching the criminals who killed his best friend. It all leads back to the cut-throat fashion world. But solving that case means going after the people Sylvie cares about, and soon his attraction for her—and the danger she’s in—has him wondering if solving the case is worth hurting the woman he can’t stop fantasizing about…
When Sylvie’s almost run over in broad daylight, Tony goes undercover as her boyfriend to infiltrate the close-knit fashion community. And when they discover Sylvie’s stalker may be linked to Tony’s own investigation, what started as a simple plan to find his friend’s killers turns into a hot bed of secrets and revelations. In a world full of overblown egos and dog-eat-dog ambition, Tony and Sylvie must work together to find her revenge-obsessed stalker before Sylvie ends up with a literal knife in the back.
This was a quick, light read. Avery Flynn writes with a quirky, breezy style that is a lot of fun to read–more than once her sense of humor here made me smile. Sylvie and Tony are both very likable characters, and their time together on the page was well spent. There was a lot of opportunity for amusing scenes between the fashionista and the big, burly security guy, and Ms. Flynn takes full advantage of it. The fashion-themed quotes at the beginning of each chapter were a neat touch. Altogether fun!
Here’s the second time Sylvie and Tony meet, and the first time she learns what and who he really is:
A tall shadow fell on the cookies. “Sorry I’m late, traffic was snarled up on West Fifty-Seventh.”
Sylvie’s heart stuttered against her ribcage. That warm, caramel voice. The sudden static of awareness in the air. An inexplicable heat warming her skin.
Please God, don’t let the potential bodyguard be the man she’d ranted and raved to—and then almost kissed—at the wedding.
She held her breath and turned to see the man the voice belonged to. Sure enough, Tony Falcon stood next to her in jeans and a smirk, both of which made her wish she’d bothered to put on lipstick and eyeliner.
His thick, black hair, combed only by his fingers no doubt, touched the collar of his vintage motorcycle jacket. It didn’t just look old, it was old. The black leather had faded creases on the inside of the elbows and the sunburnt outline of a badge that probably hadn’t been attached to the jacket for decades. Underneath he wore a gray, ribbed Henley pulled taut across his muscular chest and tucked into a pair of worn jeans, soft from wear. A few days’ growth highlighted his square jaw and shadowed the chin dimple that Sylvie had first noticed in the Grand Hibiscus Hotel garden.
For a second she wondered if having a bodyguard wouldn’t really be that bad, but quickly pushed the idea aside. She would not return to acting like that scared little girl in foster care who read two levels below her grade and raised her fists at every hint of a threat.
“Crazy traffic today, isn’t it?” Anton looked at her with a dangerous sparkle in his eyes. “Why don’t you take a seat next to our darling—and single—Sylvie. She’s a successful fashion blogger, graduated at the top of her class at Brown, and has a brilliant sense of humor.”
Just when she thought she’d die of embarrassment, her father took a deep breath and continued the introduction. “Sylvie, darling, this handsome man is Tony Falcon. He is a former police detective who now owns Maltese Security. Obviously, he has a sense of humor, considering that pun. He spent last summer restoring a 1969 Harley Davidson motorcycle—which I hereby order you never to come within an inch of—and makes the best lasagna I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.”
Anton beamed at them, his hands folded in his lap, as Tony sat down beside her. Henry shook his head and sipped more green tea, as usual unfazed by his partner’s actions.
“Nice to see you again.” Tony’s voice alone curled her toes.
Henry perked up. “You know each other?”
Sylvie kept her gaze firmly locked on the plate of cookies as her cheeks burned. “We met at Anya’s wedding.”
“Really.” Henry’s voice had gone so cold his tea could have frozen. “I thought we’d made it perfectly clear Sylvie wasn’t to know you were acting as her bodyguard at the wedding.”
“She didn’t.” Tony cleared his throat. “Until about two seconds ago.”
A thrum started behind her eyes, vibrating her brain against her skull. “What do you mean guarding me?”
Open foot, insert mouth. And the novel takes off from there…
However, both the mystery and the romance of the novel were a bit shortchanged (maybe a longer book would fix this?), and the pacing overall was somewhat uneven. The villain’s big reveal had the feel of a mustache-twirling cartoon character’s, and it was hard to take it seriously. We got our HEA in the end, but again, it was all on the quick side. Much of this book gave the impression of skimming over the top of things, rather than really getting down deep into the meat of the story.
Still, I really enjoyed Ms. Flynn’s style of writing and will definitely be on the look out for more from her in the future.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars, C+
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.