Cat Miranda returns to her childhood home in Bisbee, Arizona, to take over her brother’s art gallery following his untimely death. On her first night home, an intruder breaks in. Cat quickly realizes that she is being targeted by a murderer with links to an 8-foot tall painting in the gallery titled “Kissed.” In her struggle to stay safe, Cat finds an ally in Miles Trevelyan, a charming visiting British scholar. The heat rises with more assaults on Cat and between Cat and Miles, too, as their feelings for each other grow. Can they discover what is behind the painting “Kissed” before Cat becomes the next victim? There’s mystery, suspense, and romance in this Sonoran Desert Borderlands tale. Readers say of C.J. Shane’s books:~an intriguing mix of history, mystery, romance, and contemporary adventure~a strong southwestern flavor, a reminder of the Tony Hillerman books about the Navajos and the Hopis.
Kissed by C.J. Shane is the first book in what I hope will be a new series from this talented writer. I have never before read a book by her, until now. I am pleased with this book in so many ways.
First, the characters are well-developed. A young Mexican/American woman is dealing with the loss of her brother. Cat got along well with her brother Luis. Luis owned and operated a small art gallery and was turning it into a B&B as well. However, he died and left everything to his amazing sister, Cat. Cat is a smart woman. She questions everything and investigates further into things. I liked that she was kind, open-hearted, and fun. She was also a go-getter. Cat is the kind of heroine everyone loves. I can’t think of any reason for a reader to dislike this main protagonist. Then, there’s this mysterious good-looking Brit that shows up unannounced. Both Cat and I are glad that Miles showed up when he did. He’s a charming, smart, and dependable guy. I loved that he was protective and willing to go the extra mile for Cat. Plus, the other characters were just as interesting.
Second, the plot is intriguing from the start. I loved how I wanted to be so deeply into the book and follow the characters anywhere they went. Fun, entertaining, and easy to read. There was this shadow of what is really going on at Cat’s art gallery and why all the sudden interest in buying it from plus, the intruder, as well as other things. C.J. Shane kept me in the dark just like the protagonists. That was a bonus. Many books can tell you within the first chapter all the what, who, when and where before I can get further into the read. As a reader, I enjoy not knowing everything-while wanting to know everything at the same time. This, writer did all that. I was hooked!
Third, Kissed offers a lot of humor, action, and like I’ve stated before, mystery. The Spanish phrases and words were a great addition and made the plot come alive. I took Spanish in high school and it was cool to know I guessed the meaning of the words before the characters defined them for me. Also, I enjoyed the mental and physical banters between the protagonists. Cat and Miles are the best character duos, ever. They are from completely different cultural backgrounds but they both share a fondness for Mexican food and other things like kindness to others. I laughed a lot and got lost within this book with ease.
Overall, if you’re looking for a mystery/contemporary fiction book-this is a must read! The pages flew by and the scenes were exciting. I didn’t know what to expect with this read. However, I did fall deeply in love with this work of fiction. C.J. Shane is a new favorite writer of mine, now. I am hoping she writes more like this one.