Sunday, February 10, 2013

Michelle Jerott / Michele Albert -- Absolute Trouble

Michelle Jerott / Michele Albert -- Absolute Trouble

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.25}
Action: ♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠
Action: 1.0 / Emotion: 5.0 / Romance: 5.0 / Sensuous: 3.5 / Suspense: 2.0  //  Laughter: 5 / Tears: 9

  RWA's 1997 Golden Heart Award for best unpublished contemporary romance
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Setting:     Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans, Louisiana
Era:           Present Day [1998]
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Having read all the books included under The Avalon Investigations Series of Michele Albert's book list, would like to divide this selection into two different series; naming them: {1} The Pre-Avalon Series (the first four books) and {2} The Avalon Investigations Series (the last three books).

Absolute Trouble is Michelle Jerott's debut novel and the first book in The Pre-Avalon Series.   Jerott has a winner on her hands with this book.   Although expecting a 'Romantic Suspense' novel versus a 'Contemporary Romance,' was pleasantly surprised at the depth of interest this book produced.   Even though I was unable to keep reading the book with minimal interruption -- the characters were so engaging they remained in the background of my mind until I was able pick up the book again.

Dulcinea "Dulcie" Quinn was on her houseboat, preparing for her doll show in two weeks, when her ex-partner, New Orleans detective Bobby Halloran, brought her a witness to protect.   Dulcie was no longer a cop because, although now mostly recovered, goons belonging to vicious drug dealer Jacob Mitsumi (known as Red Dragon) had broken her back during a bust.   Bobby brought Dulcie the man who could put Red Dragon behind bars because he was an eye-witness to Red Dragon committing murder.

Dulcie was not immune to the witness's dynamic, bad-boy good looks even though she knew better than to be attracted to, of all things, a male stripper.   Jerott knew what would draw a romance reader's interest by introducing the hero, Julien Langlois, as every woman's ultimate eye-candy:
The man walked with the self-assurance of a CEO in a thousand-dollar suit, although beneath the raincoat he wore nothing but boots, a sequin bow tie, and a black G-string.
Enjoyed every minute of the multitude of times that Dulcie admired the beautifully-sculpted, practically unclothed or shirtless Julien.   Julien unapologetically oozed Cajun charm and sex-appeal throughout the entire story.   In fact, Julien used his charm and Dulcie's obvious interest in his body to try and leave protective custody.

When Dulcie found out that Julien was about the cross the line (by killing Red Dragon for his role in the death of Marcel, his sixteen-year-old brother), she decided to use sex as a tool to save Julien -- to convince him to let the police arrest Red Dragon.   Jerott has that magic touch when it comes to writing sensual, heated love scenes.   Some authors use lots of graphic descriptions and language to bring forth the heat in the love scenes, but Jerott did it by writing scenes that drew forth strong emotions that drew the reader into the psyche of the hero and heroine and utilized less graphically descriptive language.   Absolute Trouble is the book to read if you love emotional, romantic, sensual love scenes.

Dulcie, however, found out there was more to Julien than just a great body and massive amounts of Cajun charm.   Julien was following the path of revenge because he was eaten up with guilt.   Julien felt he should have found a way to save Marcel.   Then too, there was Julien's feelings of being a failure.   Instead of appreciating the gift of music that flowed through Julien (revealed whenever he played his harmonica), his parents thought he was worthless for pursuing music instead of holding down a steady nine-to-five job.

Jerott seemed to know how to draw forth tears and laughter as Dulcie and Julien fought and loved their way through Absolute Trouble.   Dulcie was no push-over and she had some great smart-remark lines to throw at Julien as they engaged in verbal warfare over Julien's future (or lack thereof, should he continue to pursue his vengeful quest).   Dulcie's insecurities over her back injuries added further emotional angst to the story.

Two police officers joined Julien and Dulcie on the houseboat trip down the bayou.   These two characters added more depth to the story.   Les James was portrayed as the peacekeeper.   A man who had been on the force for twenty-five years and had a soft reasonable voice that Jerott so vividly described: "[Les] used the same tone of voice with foul-mouthed, frenzied delinquents that he used when ordering a hamburger off a menu."   (Loved that description.)   Although always present, Les seemed to be part of the background.

The other police officer was a pretty, petite black woman, Lucille Pettijohn.   Jerott displayed her talent at making her supporting characters feel real, seem more human -- like the fact that Lucy pops her gum and does not hide her blatant appreciation of Julien's body.   Jerott used Lucille's interest in Julien to bring out Dulcie's feelings of jealously and ownership towards Julien.   It is engaging and interesting that Lucille and Les both came to appreciate Julien as a man worthy of Dulcie as the story progressed and Jerott began unwrapping the layers that were wrapped around Julien's personality.

The forceful, dynamic, brightly dressed detective, Bobby Halloran was the main secondary supporting character.   It was obvious that Dulcie and Bobby had once been lovers.   It was also obvious that Bobby was all about the job.   His presence was strong and intense throughout the story even though he had minimal page time.   In fact, at one point it was easy to feel compassion for Bobby because Dulcie chose the "can't keep a job" stripper over him.   Bobby's bold personality added greatly to the enjoyment of the story and is a wonderful tool for Jerott to prompt her fans to continue reading her books, as Bobby will have his own book in this series.

As Absolute Trouble is categorized as a Contemporary Romance rather than a Romantic Suspense, it is not surprising that this book is all about the romance that built between Julien and Dulcie during the week they stayed on the houseboat.   There is one small action scene (regarding the final arrest of Red Dragon) and very little suspense to the book.   This book is all about the hero and heroine overcoming and accepting their pasts to find their happily-ever-after.

Michelle Jerott is a strong, vivid story-teller who knows how to reach deep into the heart of a romance reader by generating feelings of empathy for both the hero and the heroine.   Absolute Trouble is a must read for any romance reader who loves to become emotionally invested with the characters of a well-told story.

Yes, there are feelings of guilt because even through Absolute Trouble was a thoroughly enjoyable read, it received less than a five-star rating simply because of personal preferences.   While Jerott told a wonderfully entertaining story that kept me emotionally connected to Julien and Dulcie, she wrote a book that failed to feed the action, adventure and suspense yearnings residing inside this bookworm.   So through no fault of Jerott's, this book was a bit of a disappointment for no other reason than that it was a 'Contemporary Romance' rather than a 'Romantic Suspense' novel.   That's just not fair!

In summary, Absolute Trouble, the first book in the The Pre-Avalon Series, is a must read for 'Contemporary Romance' readers who love a book that features: {1} a confident, charming, strong alpha hero whose unique role as a stripper more than meets the need for eye-candy, and angst-filled past brings out feminine compassion in both the heroine and the reader; {2} a determined, strong-willed, Amazonian heroine who has the strength of character to bring the hero to his senses; {3} plenty of entertaining, snappy dialogue between Julien and Dulcie; {4} a heated sense of romance at the fast-growing feelings of lust that develop into a deep emotional connection to both Julien and Dulcie; {5} sizzling, heated, spicy lovemaking scenes add potency to the story; {6} the well-developed intriguing secondary characters add a realistic flavor and greatly enhance the plot development; and {7} although not filled with a lot of action and suspense, the story moves along at a quick, page-turning pace that makes the book difficult to put down.   This is a book you should pick up and read.
--Vonda M. Reid (Wednesday; March 2, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.)     [181]

Books In The Series: "The Pre-Avalon Series"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.09-1998Absolute TroubleJulien Langlois; stripperDulcinea "Dulcie" Quinn; former cop
02.10-2002Getting Her ManDr. Jack Austin; archaeology professorDiana Belmaine; Private Investigator
03.09-2003Off LimitsRobert "Bobby" Michael Halloran; detectiveEmma Frey; homicide detective
04.03-2005One Way OutDr. Alex Martinell; paleontologist; professorCassie Parker Ashton; treasure hunter

Books In The Series: "The Avalon Investigations Series"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.05-2006 Hide In Plain SightGriffith "Grif" Laughton; Avalon OperativeFiona Kennedy; bookstore owner
02.04-2007Tough EnoughWilliam "Will" Tiernay; Avalon OperativeMia Shaeffer Dolan; art restorer
03.03-2010Her Last ChanceVincent DeLuca; FBI Special AgentClaudia Cruz; Avalon Operative
04.hoping. . . Ben Sheridan; Avalon CEO. . .

Characters Found In "Absolute Trouble"
Character Description Also In
Julien Langlois[Hero] stripper; self-assured; easy, insolent grace (5) face and body that raised eyebrows, blood pressure and hopes; black hair; eyes dark and cold and flat (6) sleek, beautiful muscles; 6'3" (10) faint line of dark hair down his flat belly; beautiful, primal Acadian accented voice (14) early 30s; (41) interesting lines on face (41) long fingers; strong hands; muscular forearms; raw male (45) hot and dangerous underneath chill (56) smooth, cool good looks (65) body to die for and killer grin (90) 33-y-o; from heart of Lafayette; catholic (169) loved music; gifted; parents disapproved (257) romantic; strong emotions in everything (258) long, thick curling beautiful lashes (274) featured dancer, Ragin' Cajun' at Le Homme (322) spent hours lost in music (352) 1. Absolute Trouble
2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
Dulcinea "Dulcie" Quinn[Heroine] ex-cop (2) 10 years a policeman (5) 6' (10) red hair; long legs (20) hip-length ponytail (23) trim waist; bit of breast; 30-y-o (23) smart mouth (26) practical; cautious; chancy temper; nice girl; kind of conservative; individualist (30) metal pin in back, 9" scar (43) fine looking woman; auburn hair; gray-green eyes (99) long-legged purposeful stride (181) 30-y-o (186) 1. Absolute Trouble
2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
. . .. . .. . .
Alana[No Appearance] Julien married when he was 25; divorced when he was 26 (169)1. Absolute Trouble
Susan Carson[One Appearance] KJUN News reporter (347)1. Absolute Trouble
Delpuppy (236)1. Absolute Trouble
Gil[One Appearance] Bobby's backup (319)1. Absolute Trouble
Greg[Secondary Character] Mitsumi's man; bull of a man; bulging thighs; mountainous shoulders; loyal; obedient; smart enough to be trusted; stupid enough not to question orders (91)1. Absolute Trouble
Adam Guidreau[Secondary Character] old friend of Dulcie's (32)1. Absolute Trouble
Juan Hernandez[No Appearance] petty scum; killed by Red Dragon (7)1. Absolute Trouble
Robert "Bobby" Michael Halloran[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Book 3] asked Dulcie to protect and hide Julien until trial // Detective on New Orleans Police Department; Dulcie's friend; one time partner (1) wide Irish grin; handsome chest (3) devious; unscrupulous (13) tactless (32) Robert Michael (81) blue eyes (81) good ol' boy drawl; sunny good looks; sharp (86) sharpest homicide cop in New Orleans (102) mobile mouth (85) hot tempered; irresponsible (214) handsome (232) wore loud clothes; purpose of steel; relentless (244) quirky; intense (352) 1. Absolute Trouble
2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Kurt Horowitz[One Appearance] dark, brooding body builder; Le Homme dancer (323)1. Absolute Trouble
Les James[Important Secondary Character] N.O. detective; solid belly (9) thinning brown hair (21) soft reasonable voice; used with everybody (73) diplomatic (96) heavyset (189) good man (203) practical; unflappable; stubborn; contrary as mule (204) kind, wise eyes (236) 1. Absolute Trouble
Office Judson Kirkpatrick[One Appearance] young cop (330)1. Absolute Trouble
Alex Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's brother (356) married 2-y-o; lived in Houston (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Annie Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's sister; young; just graduated from high school; had crush on Bobby (370)1. Absolute Trouble
Anton Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's brother (356) had own farm; married high school sweetheart (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Cecille Langlois[Brief Appearances] Julien's mother; short; round; old-fashioned print dress (355) 1. Absolute Trouble
Christine Langlois[Brief Appearance] Anton's wife (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Elise Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's sister (356) army sergeant (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Joe Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's youngest brother; 11-y-o (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Joseph Langlois[Brief Appearances] Julien's father; tall; angular; weather-worn brown skin (355) 1. Absolute Trouble
Marcel Langlois[No Appearance] Julien's brother; 16-y-o; few brushes with law; junkie (108) died in a drive-by shooting (111) 1. Absolute Trouble
Paulette Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's sister (356) pretty; eloped month ago with cowboy parents barely tolerated (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Samuel Marcel Langlois[Brief Appearance] thatch of black hair; ten perfect toes and fingers; sweetest little bowlegs; tiny, precious nose (368) 1. Absolute Trouble
Tom Langlois[Brief Appearance] Julien's brother (356) eldest brother; lived on family farm with wife and kids (370) 1. Absolute Trouble
Grace LeMieux[Brief Appearance] Julien's sister; pretty; dark hair (356)1. Absolute Trouble
Ed LeMieux[Brief Appearance] Grace's husband (356)1. Absolute Trouble
Detective Martindale[One Appearance] bruiser boy; detective in New Orleans Police Department (112)1. Absolute Trouble
Mike[No Appearance] owned cabin where Les, Lucille, Julien, Dulcie stayed for a time // friend of Dulcie's father; copy; retired; wife a teacher; in Atlanta with daughter going through divorce (256)1. Absolute Trouble
Chloe Mitsumi[No Appearance] Jacob's sister (82) beautiful; notorious (85) 1. Absolute Trouble
3. Off Limits
Jacob Mitsumi
"Red Dragon"
[Secondary Character] Julien plans to kill in vengeance for the death of his brother; Julien witnessed him committing murder // fire red dragon tattooed down his back; vicious drug dealer (2) prince of scum (7) 1. Absolute Trouble
3. Off Limits
Detective O'Donnell[One Appearance] bruiser boy; detective in New Orleans Police Department (112)1. Absolute Trouble
Rochelle Paine[One Appearance] Le Homme owner; short; plump; iron gray hair cut stylishly; mid-40s; attractive; hard-edged; shrewd; fair (322)1. Absolute Trouble
Lucille Pettijohn[Important Secondary Character] pretty black officer (7) pops her gum (74) grated on nerves occasionally; soft, generous heart (127) petite (180) bold as brass (282) 1. Absolute Trouble
Sean Quinn[No Appearance] Dulcie's brother; Bobby's friend; transferred to Baton Rouge from New Orleans PD (181)1. Absolute Trouble
Ricky[One Appearance] Le Homme acrobatic young black dancer; stage name Ali Baba (323)1. Absolute Trouble
Elena Sinclair[One Appearance] prosecutor (353) 1. Absolute Trouble
Tookie[No Appearance] beaming, busty blonde; big blue eyes; Kurt's girlfriend (323)1. Absolute Trouble

Locations, Organizations, Terms Found In "Absolute Trouble"
Location / Organization Description
MondayChapter One (1)
TuesdayChapter Four (50)
WednesdayChapter Nine (117)
ThursdayChapter Thirteen (161)
FridayChapter Nineteen (273)
SaturdayChapter Twenty (302)
Bayou Terre aux BoeufsDulcie steering houseboat down this bayou (87)
Crackerone of city's worst biker bars (4)
Delacroixarrived at Delacroix to get gas and supplies (174)
8th District Police Stationpolice station where Bobby works
Lake Pontchartrain, New OrleansChapter One Opening (1)
Le Hommeelegant ladies club; Julian was featured dancer, "Ragin' Cajun" (322)

"Absolute Trouble" Quotations
31A woman was attracted to a handsome man because her body was programmed to do so.   (Dulcie)
113Sometimes the law didn't punish the bad guys, it just tucked them away for a spell and returned them to the streets meaner than ever.   (Dulcie)
122Her warm tears dampened his shirt, and he envied her ability to let loose the hurt.   (Julien)
166"It's what I do best; run away and hide."   (Dulcie)
175"make sure they don't bury me in panty hose, okay?   I can't imagine going through eternity in those damn things?"   (Dulcie)
201Solitude could be a strength in the right situation, but it also cut one off from those who could listen, who could be around when their help was needed.   (Julien)
214Was lying wrong, if by doing so you managed to help someone?   Was it all right to play games and manipulate someone's emotions, if everything turned out for the best in the end?   (Dulcie)
214"a habit of believin' what you want to despite the facts."   (Julien)
227He could settle down and make himself belong, make himself grasp life by the horns and ride it through all the bumps, the spills, the wild exhilaration.   (Julien)
236Seen a lot in that time.   Lost good friends, and spent more than a few nights staring at a blank TV screen trying to understand why things are the way they are."   (Les)

"Michelle Jerott / Michele Albert -- Absolute Trouble" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
   Michelle Jerott's WebsiteAuthor
   Michelle Jerott's FacebookAuthor
B+ / Hot08-24-1998All About Romancewell-written, detailed review
4.59 average{32 reviews}Amazonas of: February 9, 2013 {mostly older reviews}
--{no reviews}Barnes & Nobleas of: February 9, 2013
8 / 8 / 810-22-2003Eye on Romance--Nathalie // good details
----Fict FactList of Books In "The Avalon Investigations Series"
----Fantastic FictionList of Michelle Jerott's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Michele Albert's Books
----Fiction DBList of Michelle Jerott's Books
----Fiction DBList of Michele Albert's Books
3.53 average{30 ratings}Good Readsas of: February 9, 2013
3.79 average{12 ratings}Library Thingas of: February 9, 2013
3.50 average{24 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: February 9, 2013
4.50 Top Pick03-30-2010RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviewsby: Jill M. Smith / good
3.50 average{4 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 9, 2013
4.2502-10-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Absolute Trouble review link to table, just ask

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