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Future Fortunes and a Femme Fatale
Jayne Ann Krentz has authored more than a score of New York Times bestsellers, including her futuristic and historical romances written under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick. Her newest contemporary romance, Soft Focus, has an almost historic feel to it with its glimpse of the fringes of the film noir world and a character who is a classic femme fatale. Yet it's a very modern-day story of high-tech suspense and sizzling passion rendered with Krentz's hallmark style, wit, and intrigue.
Elizabeth Cabot and Jack Fairfax became involved in a steamy affair while working together on a project. Elizabeth, as the administrator of philanthropic funds, knows a good investment when she sees one. And Excalibur, the small, family-run R&D company that Jack has been hired to rescue from near financial ruin, looks highly promising with its star attraction: a newly developed crystal with the potential for revolutionizing the computer industry. After working closely with Jack, Elizabeth thinks he might be a good investment as well, an investment for her heart. But Elizabeth discovers that Jack is hiding a devastating secret, one that brings their affair to a screeching halt.
Despite her total withdrawal from Jack on a personal level, Elizabeth is far too smart to pull the funding for Excalibur, for she knows that once the crystal hits the market, it can not only provide a return on her investment but add millions in profit as well. But before that can happen, the laboratory at Excalibur is sabotaged, one of the employees is found murdered, and the crystal is stolen. Forced to work together in hopes of recovering the crystal so they can realize the success of their respective goals, Elizabeth and Jack follow a trail to an exclusive, glitzy resort in Colorado, where a neo-noir film festival is being held.
Amid a panoply of black-and-white movie showings, staged murders for a spur-of-the-moment contest, and a spate of weird phone calls and other happenings, Elizabeth and Jack try to track down the crystal. Things aren't made any easier with the arrival of several business adversaries, who hope to get their own hands on the crystal, one of whom has a highly personal reason for wanting to see Jack fail. As Elizabeth and Jack slowly close in on the crystal, a killer, a traitor, and a talented scam artist, they also close in on each other. For despite their differences, their passion for each other cannot be denied.
Soft Focus is a showcase blend of Krentz at her best: sparkling style, a keen sense of place, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a collection of winsome and wily characters. The gritty glamour of the film-noir set provides the perfect backdrop for suspense, while also making for an eclectic and intriguing cast of supporting characters.