There are a number of mysteries to be solved in THE LIEUTENANT BY HER SIDE, and uncovering the truth behind these secrets becomes imperative before more lives are lost. While real facts are actually part of the plot, the imagined portions of the story seem just as believable time and again. Jean Thomas expertly blends romance with suspense to create an original story overflowing with desire plus danger.
Even though schoolteacher Clare Fuller has gone to a resort hotel, she is not there to enjoy a vacation. Her sister is accused of murder, and it seems seducing a stranger is the only way she can acquire much needed proof of her sibling’s innocence. Lieutenant Mark Griggs is back in the states because of an injury, and he has an amulet that she must take from him and then exchange for vital information. Clare manages to trick the soldier and steal the piece from him, yet feels much shame in disrespecting a war hero.
Most of her plan goes as anticipated until the final part of her escape, thus allowing Mark to catch up with her and retrieve his amulet. Although he is very irritated, he takes the time to talk with Clare and learn the reason for her actions the night before. When he hears why she stole from him, he decides to stick with her until they can learn the intentions of the person who sent her. By working closely together and never being apart, Mark and Clare discover details about each other that make the temptation between them difficult to disregard.
When Jean Thomas writes a book, there is loads of realism in every scene. THE LIEUTENANT BY HER SIDE is packed with conceivable scenarios and lifelike characters. What is really taking place remains unknown for much of the story, and this has the main couple searching for any concrete facts they can bring to light. With few clues and no one in authority willing to accept what they think probably occurred, Mark and Clare are on their own for much of the book. With no reason to trust each other, their relationship starts off guardedly with little faith between them. However, Mark soon demonstrates he is always a protector even when not actively serving his country, and Clare comes to realize she cannot aid her sister without his assistance. As they cautiously work together and seek answers, the sensual pull they each felt at their first meeting builds until desire overrides their rational behavior. The intimacy between Mark and Clare is fiery yet backed by a genuineness neither wants to dwell on. With threatening peril continuously following them, much of the time they are interacting concentrates on staying safe while learning why the amulet is so important. The whole concept behind the pendant is extremely clever, and the story Jean Thomas constructs from several facts is innovative with plenty of cunning schemes. I was certainly surprised by many of the pieces of evidence unearthed by these two, and the ending really kept me riveted to every single aspect. The setting is described in vividly told details, particularly New Orleans, and this made the story seem more plausible because of all the accurate information included. THE LIEUTENANT BY HER SIDE is intriguing with gripping suspense, while the romance is touchingly emotional.