Charmed and Dangerous

License to Thrill

Mission Irresistible
by Lori Wilde
(Warner, $6.50, PG-13) ISBN 0446-61515-3
Mission Irresistible is one of those tales that is funny at times, suspenseful at times and unevenly paced. Wilde has taken a mystery about stolen Egyptian artifacts, mixed in some myths and ancient cults and tried to build a romance around it. It was not an easy reading experience, yet was somewhat satisfying.

Cassie Cooper is a museum PR specialist who wants to work for the Smithsonian Institution. That is a long way from San Antonio, but it’s her hope. She is certain that success at re-uniting two ancient Egyptian star-crossed lovers will launch her into D.C. She is working with rival archaeologists Harrison Standish, who discovered the remains of the woman, Kiya, and his half-brother Adam Grayfield, who discovered the remains of the man, Solen. Mythology has it that these two lovers, Kiya and Solen, were kept apart by warring factions. They had an amulet made and each had one half. As Solen was dying, he cursed his murderer's family. Joining the two halves of the amulet will end the curse. There is also a rumor of a Minoan cult that wants to be the ones to reunite the amulets because of some sort of mythical powers. To raise money, and with Adam and Harrison's help, Cassie has planned a gala costume party event at the museum to reunite the two halves of the betrothal amulet.

Needless to say, the best-laid plans go astray. Adam, who is bringing Solen's half of the amulet with him to the gala, never shows up. A man dressed as a mummy lures Cassie to the museum's courtyard, only to be stabbed. Cassie goes for help, only to return with the crowd to find the mummy and all traces of the mummy gone. When they return inside, Kiya's half of the amulet, which was on display, is missing. Harrison and Cassie make up a cock-and-bull story about a mystery theatre and buy themselves 72 hours to find Adam and both halves of the amulet. Their search and running from the bad guys make up the rest of the story.

Harrison and Cassie are complete opposites, yet are attracted. Cassie is a smart dresser with an hourglass figure who is flighty, gregarious, outrageous and full of energy. Harrison has learned to shut off his emotions, is stodgy and dresses like an absent-minded professor. Yet he is athletic and handsome. When together, he and Cassie are either arguing or fighting their attraction to each other. Both are relatively likable, yet their lives are full of clichés. Harrison doesn't trust emotion because of his mother, who would not tell him who his father was and who warned him off trusting love. Cassie is flighty and doesn't like to be tied down, convincing herself that true love might be out there but is highly unlikely. The hurt she suffered because of one jerk boyfriend was enough to convince her of that.

The heat between these two is on and off again, but when on, it is sizzling. My only issue is that they find lust right in the middle of some of the more tense suspense filled moments, creating a sense of the ridiculous. The action is tense, yet the police are never involved. The villain is easy to spot, leaving the reader with less than total satisfaction. From a practical standpoint, I had a hard time believing a man with a knife sticking out his back could do some of the things the mummy could do.

Overall, Mission Irresistible requires major suspension of reality, is filled with clichés and involves ancient Egyptian myths. In another story, Cassie might be someone the reader could embrace. Harrison, too, has some potential. But the combination doesn't deliver on that irresistibility promise.

--Shirley Lyons

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