Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.
This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.
Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.
Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
I've pretty much given up on urban fantasy but every so often I'll dip my toes back in just to see if the genre has improved since I last tried it.
When I came across In a Fix I thought it might be worth a shot since it sounded different than any of the other urban fantasies that I've read and it was about time to test the waters again. Actually, it was probably the vikings that did it. I mean, who could resist the promise of modern-day vikings? (Not me, apparently)
I will say that I enjoyed In a Fix a lot more than I had expected to. It was entertaining and fun, and at times a bit ridiculous. I particularly liked the story's unusual take on shape shifting. The main characters had the unique ability to take on another person's physical form (and voice) by borrowing some of their aura. As we soon discover, when Queen Elizabeth makes a mysterious appearance in the Bahamas, this trick doesn't even require the permission of a body's owner, which leads to all kinds of interesting possibilities.
While Ciel's brother, his friend Mark and their family friend, Billy, use their adaptor skills to go on covert missions for the CIA, Ciel put it to use in her businesses, getting people out of tricky situations by taking their place. When we first meet Ciel she is actually in the middle of one such job. Posing as her beautiful socialite client, Ciel is supposed to extract a marriage proposal from her client's boyfriend. Everything is going well until the boyfriend gets kidnapped and Mark and Billy show up uninvited to do some damage control.
Not one to stand aside, Ciel insists on seeing her job through to the end but that only lands her in the middle of a dangerous viking conspiracy which may cost her life.
While I enjoyed the story for the most part there was just one thing that bothered me, and that was Ciel herself.
At first I felt sympathetic for Ciel, whose privacy was constantly being breached by the overprotective men in her life. I could understand her annoyance at having set out on her own only to have every move of hers tracked by her brother and his friends, even to the point where they would interfere with her work. But my sympathy for Ciel quickly turned into irritation when it became apparent that there is a reason these guys are always keeping tabs on her. The woman is completely incompetent.
Over and over again Ciel would unwittingly stumble into a dangerous situation from which she would need to be saved just so that she could prove how valuable to the mission she was. About half way through the book I starting feeling bad for Mark and Billy, who had to keep saving Ciel because she refuses to stay out of dangerous situations that she doesn't know how to handle.
I therefore had a bit of a hard time buying the fact that in these circumstances Ciel would develop a romantic relationship with a man (or two) who should have wanted to strangle her for being an irresponsible idiot (which is what I would have done if I were them). I couldn't understand how the woman possibly ran a businesses that required some subtlety and stealth.
But despite my irritation with Ciel she did kind of grow on me and I enjoyed the rest of the story, vikings and all (just wait 'til you get to the bottom of that plot!). Though if I were Mark and Billy I would stay far away from Ciel the next time I had a dangerous mission to go on because that woman is trouble.