Nora Roberts started her In Death series back in 1995 with the release of Naked In Death. A best selling romance author, Nora Roberts decided to expand her audience and appeal by entering a new genre under a pseudonym. Hence the birth of J.D. Robb. Readers were thrilled with the futuristic setting and a tough as nails homicide detective-Eve Dallas. A loner with a murky violent past, Robb matches her with brilliant billionaire Rourke, whose own mysterious past kept fans guessing for a long time. The series quickly gained attention and a strong fan base, eventually prompting Roberts to ‘unmask’ herself with the twelfth book in the series-Betrayal in Death. Fans of Nora Roberts jumped on the band wagon, thrilled that their favorite author had two series in which to enjoy.
Obsession in Death (out February 10) marks the 40th installment of this series. Putnam has invited Smexy Books to be the last stop of the Countdown to 40 blog tour that celebrates the release of Obsession in Death with a week long In Death read-a-thon with excellent prizes, an exclusive look at the book before release, and more. (Catch up on the other participants – HEA Blog, Romance at Random, Heroes and Heartbreakers).
Smexy Books has chosen to re read Innocent in Death. I’ve always been a fan of this series and this particular book is a constant re read for me. While I enjoyed the world building and suspenseful chilling storyline, it’s the personal conflict(s) of this book that break my heart, fire up my blood, and reaffirm my love for Eve and Roarke.
I have chosen three scenes in the book that I believe are pivotal points in the storyline; showcasing and rejecting Eve’s subconscious fear that she is unworthy of everything she has in her life-most importantly Roarke’s love.
These scenes will release consecutively on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Innocent in Death (In Death #24) by J.D. Robb
New York Lieutenant Eve Dallas doesn’t like to see innocent people murdered. And the death of Craig Foster is clearly a murder. He was seemingly ordinary history teacher, but uncovers some extraordinary surprises. Foster’s death devastated his young wife, who’d sent him to work that day with a lovingly packed lunch. It shocked his colleagues at the private school, too, and as for the ten-year-old girls who found him in his classroom in a pool of bodily fluids-they may have been traumatized for life.
Eve soon determines that Foster’s home made lunch was tainted with deadly ricin, and that Mr. Foster’s colleagues have some startling secrets of their own. It’s Eve’s job to sort it out- and discover why someone would have done this to a man who seemed so inoffensive, so pleasant… so innocent.
Now Magdalena Percell… there’s someone Eve can picture as a murder victim. Possibly at Eve’s own hands. The slinky blonde-an old flame of her billionaire husband, Roarke-has arrived in New York, and she’s anything but innocent. Roarke seems blind to Magdalena’s manipulation, and he insists that the occasional lunch or business meeting with her is nothing to worry about… and none of Eve’s business. Consumed by her jealousy–and Roarke’s indifference to it, she is unnerved by the situation that she finds it hard to focus on her case. Still, she’ll have to put aside her feelings, for a while at least-because another man has just turned up dead.
Eve knows all too well that innocence can be a facade. Keeping that in mind may help her solve this case at last. But it may also tear apart her marriage. (Goodreads)
Scene One: When Eve first meets Magdalena Percell. Pages 35-38
A fancy New York restaurant. Detective Eve Dallas has shown up late, again, for a dinner date with her husband Roarke She is making small talk with their dinner companions when a voice calls Roarke’s name.
When someone said his name, and he glanced toward them, Eve saw something come into his eyes, just a flash of it. A something she’d only seen when he looked at her.
It was gone, shuttered down into polite pleasure. But it had been there. Very slowly, Eve tracked her gaze over, and saw her.
She was stunning, in a bold red dress that managed to be both elegant and sexy. Long legs ended in the glitter of paper-thin silver heels. Her hair was a long, waving stream of delicate blond, clipped at the sides with something small and sparkling. Her eyes were brilliantly green, full of life and excitement that translated to sexual power. Her lips were full, very red and lush against luminous skin.
She said it again in a kind of throaty purr that brought up the hackles on Eve’s back. And she glided as such women do, to the table, holding out her hands for his.
“‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world,’” she murmured as he rose, and lifted her face for a kiss.
“Magdelana,” he said with the Irish in his voice cruising through the name, and he brushed her lips very lightly with his. “What a surprise.”
“I can’t believe it’s you!” Magdelana laid her hands on his cheeks, stroked. “And as handsome as ever. More. The years agreed with you, lover.”
“And with you. Eve, this is an old friend of mine, Magdelana Percell. Magdelana, my wife, Eve Dallas, and our friends, Sam and Natalie Derrick.”
“Wife? Oh, of course, of course. I heard. One does. I’m delighted to meet you. And you,” she said to the Derricks. “You’ll have to excuse me for breaking into your meal. All I saw was Roarke.” She smiled down at Eve, that glitter in her eyes. “You understand.”
With another full-wattage smile, Magdelana dismissed Eve, then all but melted into Roarke.
“I’ve only been in town a few days. I was going to contact you, see if we could make a date to catch up. It’s been, my goodness, ten years?”
“Nearer to twelve, I’d think.”
“Twelve!” She rolled her exquisite eyes. “Oh, Franklin, forgive me! My escort, Franklin James. This is Roarke, his wife, and the Derricks.”
“We know each other.” Roarke held out a hand. “Hello, Frank.”
He was thirty years her senior, by Eve’s gauge, looked prosperous and hale. And, she thought, slightly besotted.
“We’ll let you get back to your dinner.” Magdelana ran a hand down Roarke’s arm—a light, somehow intimate gesture. “I’m just thrilled to see you again.” And this time she brushed her lips against Roarke’s cheek. “We’ll have lunch, won’t we, and take a walk down Memory Lane. You won’t mind, will you, Eve?”
“The lunch or the walk?”
Magdelana laughed, a frothy gurgle. “We’ll have to have lunch ourselves, us girls. And tell secrets about Roarke. I’ll be in touch. So nice to meet you.”
Conversation picked up again, over food, and fishing. Though Roarke’s face betrayed nothing but interest in his companions, Eve knew him. So she knew while he ate, he drank, he spoke, his mind was across the elegant room where the stunning Magdelana sipped wine in her bold red dress.
A powerful scene that sets the stage for what is to come. Robb cleverly begins to sow seeds of discontentment. Eve is dressed casually in pants and sweater while Magdelana is in a bold red attention getting gown. Magdelana is rich, beautiful, and extremely intelligent. Eve is a cop with a basic education, no money, and considers herself average in looks. Magdelana had Roarke first and Eve is afraid she will get him back.
The official data was slim, and the no criminal doubtful as Roarke had said they’d worked together. Even if she hadn’t been convicted, even if she hadn’t been arrested, there should have been some note in her file about being questioned at some point or other. He’d cleared it for her, Eve thought, and felt something tighten in her belly. He’d hacked in and tidied up her data, the same way he’d taken care of his own once upon a time. He’d protected her.
Eve and Roarke have only been married for about a year and a half. Though they are deeply in love, their individual pasts have shaped large portions of their lives. Eve honestly cannot understand why Roarke loves her. Why he choose her. Her inadequacies, in her eyes, are far too numerous. She is his direct opposite and when faced with an old flame of Roarke’s, Eve is shaken to her core. She and Roarke have been at odds before but this hits the very center of their relationship. Eve is unable to handle the onslaught of emotions battering her. This goes beyond simple jealousy. Eve is used to dealing with things head on. Confronting them then breaking them down until the truth appears. She is black and white and here she is forced into a gray area. Her inability to discuss personal matters with anyone but Roarke becomes problematic as her issues are with Roarke this time.
And it’s killing her.
I’m having lunch, nothing more or less.” His head angled slightly while those wild blue eyes narrowed speculatively on her face. “Or don’t you trust me?”
“I’d trust you a hell of a lot more if you didn’t refer to her as an old friend when we both know she was a hell of a lot more.”
“What she was is nearly a dozen years in the past. Years before I ever set eyes on you.” Now simple bafflement joined the irritation and the ice. “Christ Jesus, are you jealous of a woman I haven’t spoken to, seen, or thought of in years?”
Eve only looked at him for one long moment. “You’re thinking of her now,” she said, and walked away.
We are so used to seeing Eve as the strong unemotional cop who fights tirelessly for the victims…it’s shocking to see her facade crack and catch glimpses of the the fragile vulnerability she hides from the world.
“No. No, I don’t believe you’d betray me with her. I don’t believe you’d cheat on me. But I’m afraid, and I’m sick in my heart that you might look at her, then at me. And regret.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on Innocent in Death and how you felt about Magdelana and Eve’s reactions to one another.
Be sure to come back and visit us on Thursday when we will be discussing scene two-Eve and Summerset’s changing relationship and a big JD Robb prize pack will be given away.