Lila is a professional house sitter and writer who witnesses a murder and must team up with a man named Ash to discover who the killers are and why they are willing to kill for a fabulous piece d'art. Lila is a professional house sitter and writer and when she witnesses a murder, she finds herself helping Ash to find the killers and save a priceless piece of art. Lila is house sitting in New York and enjoys using her binoculars to look into the lives of other people because she enjoys their stories, after all, she is a writer. One evening during a three-week gig, she witnesses an attractive blond woman being pushed out of a window, falling to her death. Even though she notified the police, she can't let the case go until she knows how it was settled.
When she arrives at the police station, a man named Ash approaches her. Ash is the half brother of the second victim from that night. His brother, Oliver, died from an overdose of drugs in what appears to be suicide after he murdered the blond woman. But Ash doesn't believe in this murder-suicide and asks Lila if he can see from her apartment how his brother died. Lila agrees, and seeing that Ash has a good heart consoles him, even offering to help him with Oliver's funeral.
Ash also happens to be an artist, and even though his brother is dead, he can't help but want to paint Lila. She reluctantly agrees after her best friend, Julie, talks her into posing for the artist. It turns out that Julie runs a gallery that sells Ash's art. As a subplot, Ash's best friend, Luke, is also Julie's ex-husband from when they were married as teenagers, and they eventually get back together over the course of the story.
Ash and Lila become further intrigued by Oliver's death when they find a rare piece of art that Oliver left in a safe-deposit box for Ash. It is a Fabergé egg, one of the lost Imperial eggs from the Romanov era. When they show it to a family member in the antiques industry and have it authenticated as real, Vinnie, Ash's uncle, is murdered for becoming involved with the egg.
Now out for revenge, Lila helps Ash discover more about the egg . . . and learn more about their relationship. Lila becomes romantically involved with Ash and when she is threatened by the killer who is responsible for the murders, they fly to Italy to try and solve the mystery behind a second Fabergé egg. They believe correctly that this second egg is the catalyst behind Oliver's murder and they discover that the man behind the murders, Basil Vasin, is a recluse and a collector of fine art.
Lila and Ash work with the FBI to catch and convict Vasin for attempted murder and murder for hire. They come up with a plan to offer the Imperial egg to Vasin in exchange for Jai Maddox--the assassin who killed for Vasin. Vasin agrees to the deal, believing that Ash really does only want revenge and that Lila is a true gold digger. Ash asks Lila to marry him after they leave Vasin's mansion. He admires her strength, wit, and her charming capability with her Leatherman all-purpose tool. But she says nothing because she has a strong fear of commitment.
Thinking that their ordeal is over (the FBI will make the "exchange". . . and bust Vasin), Ash leaves to pick up Chinese food. While he is gone, Jai breaks in to his flat, where Lila is staying, and attempts to murder her. She is lucky though. Jai is hurt from escaping from the exchange and Lila is able to get a can of pepper spray and her Leatherman to defend herself. The two women take a tumble down the stairs and Jai is abut to complete her personal mission in killing Lila when Ash returns. He is able to subdue Jai and save Lila's life. The police and FBI are notified and Jai is sent to prison.
In light of her near-death experience, Lila realizes she truly loves Ash and agrees to marry him on her terms; that they have a permanent home, get a dog, and she's allowed to repaint the master bathroom.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a typical Nora Roberts story. If you enjoy her work, you'll love this book. It has many different layers and a little bit of something for the romantics, action, and mystery junkies. It's definitely told in Nora Roberts tone of voice, which for some can get tiring after a while, especially if you are familiar with a lot of her work.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when Lila and Ash have their business meeting with Vasin. You can really feel the tension in the room and Vasin comes off really creepy, as he should. Lila does an amazing job acting like a gold digger, which is hilarious given her personality throughout the entire book. When Vasin calls Jai into his office and uses a Taser on her, its a shock and completely satisfying.
Opinion about the main character:
I love when Lila pulls out her Leatherman to fix something. She does it so nonchalantly that it rings true and is an endearing and quirky trait. She's a strong female character (as Nora Roberts routinely does), but she's unique in her backstory and profession-professional house sitting. I disliked that she was a writer, because that's too normal for someone with Lila's personality.
Judy Turner on 9/21/2016 10:56:39 AM says: Generally, I liked the book but it was too long as so many of Nora Roberts' books are. She is also rather preachy and I don't like that. But the book was good, although I did quit reading in the middle of the book and went to the ending because it was just so long and I don't want a book that takes me a week to read since I only read when I go to bed at night. Like most of her "strong women" characters, at heart Lila is kind of a whining, me, me, me, it's all about me almost all of the time" kind of person. I would not be able to be Lila's friend in real life because I'd have to just tell her to shut up and get a clue! Life is not always about what you want, what you need, what you will put up with or won't put up with.