Barefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St. Claire

Barefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St. ClaireBarefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Barefoot Bay Undercover, #2
Published by South Street Publishing on October 14th 2015
Pages: 346
Buy on Amazon

Francesca Rossi might be the youngest in a long line of badass siblings, but this computer whiz would rather hack a database than pack a pistol for the family business in Barefoot Bay.  When an assignment forces her out of her comfort zone and into the field, Chessie decides to amp up the excitement quotient and has her first one night stand with a sexy stranger she’ll never see again.
Former CIA agent Malcolm Harris is fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and knows the government is watching his every move, waiting for him to slip up.  But the only mistake he makes is to assume the sexy, sassy woman he seduces on the way to Barefoot Bay is a spy.  He learns too late that the beauty he’s bedded is really his best friend’s sister…and his undercover partner on a risky mission.
Chessie and Mal have to stay one step ahead of the CIA, navigate their way through a perilous country, and fight the insane chemistry that sizzles between them.  It doesn’t take long for this hacker and spy to discover the power of their unplanned partnership…and learn that falling in love might be the riskiest business of all.

I’d always thought that building a convincing love story based on someone else’s baggage wouldn’t work, being a firm believer in that each story needs to be weighed and told on its own merits and the protagonists’ own baggage. Chessie’s and Mal’s story falls into this trap and while there are some niggling issues about embezzled money and corrupt people in the CIA, the mystery of Gabriel, his son and his lover is still centric to this series – which isn’t yet solved. Somehow, I thought that Chessie (whom I really liked in the Guardian Angelinos) deserved better than to have her story told simply as a launching pad for Gabriel’s long-awaited one.