Updated: Jan 17
Don't Let Me Forget
by Belinda Williams
Published by Escape Publishing
Would you remember the face of a killer?
After divorcing the heir to a media fortune, Juliet Temple chose to keep her high-profile surname to grow her elite event planning business. But when a young woman is found dead and Juliet is drugged at her latest celebrity party, not even the Temple name can protect her. Unable to remember what happened that night, Juliet finds herself in serious danger.
Juliet retreats to the Hunter Valley, where she becomes Jet Appleton, Rhodes Family Estate's wedding organizer. Martin Rhodes, winemaker and former detective, is tasked with watching over her, but his son, Dan, knows nothing of Jet's true identity--which is a problem because he's the sort of man who deserves her honesty.
As the dark ties holding her to Sydney close in, Jet begins to see her old life--including her controlling ex-husband--in a whole new light. Jet's longing to return to Sydney is proving to be a dangerous desire, and so are her growing feelings for Dan. But not as dangerous as the killer, who is still watching her every move . .
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #Romance Climatic
#Mystery Happy Ending
Don't Let Me Forget is the first book I have read from Belinda Williams. I was first drawn to the book by it's eery, but beautiful, cover, but the book description sounded all kinds of interesting. Which it was. I actually couldn't put the book down.
This is the first mystery/thriller/romance book I have read, to be honest. I try to stick to lighthearted books, but there is something about this one that hooked me. I will say, this book is more about the mystery than the romance. It does still belong in the romance genre, as Juliet and Dan's relationship does build throughout the story. Their romance is beautiful is the simplicity of it. There is nothing in the way of their partnership, other than the situation Juliet, quite literally, woke up one morning into. All the mystery tied into this party, and everything that happens afterwards, is thrilling, and really sinks it's claws into you. It's full of twists, and the answers to this crime was not predictable in the least. I am very impressed. I usually figure it out well before it all comes to a head, so to speak.
The characters were wonderfully written, and while Belinda William's mentioned a characters past, it wasn't the focus. These characters are very "present driven", and yet they didn't lack depth. Juliet/Jet is a likable protagonist. Despite her not being able to remember, her compassion for the victim, and her worry for those she knows who may be involved, won't let her give up on what happened. Dan is just a wonderful delight of a male love interest. Sweet, kind, patient, intelligent, protective, and trusting ... swoon. It is easy to understand why they are both attracted to one another. The multitude of side characters were just as entertaining. Dan's family, and specifically his father Marty were great and likable. The characters from Jet's life were questionable at times ... okay, a lot of the time ... but super interesting, and made the mystery that much harder to get answers to. And while I don't want to get into specific characters and spoil the story, but I will say this; Belinda William's did a remarkable job by the end of the story, tying up loose ends, AND making me feel sympathy for a not so great guy.
All in all, for my very first mystery/thriller/romance read, I loved it! I recommend Don't Let Me Forget, EVEN if you don't particularly like romance. Truth is, while there is two protagonists that do fall for each other, Don't Let Me Forget is mostly a mystery. So if you like your books to have a "Whodunit" vibe, Don't Let Me Forget is for you!
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Alex: "You British. Far too restrained."
Alex: "Or Andrew was right. You work too hard."
Juliet: "He knows me well."
Alex: "Yeah, well, he didn't know how to hold on to you, so I'm guessing he didn't know you well enough."
Juliet: "Give me the French stuff."
Dan: "French stuff?"
Dan's eyes widened and he gave her a mock horrified look, before turning back to his dad.
Dan: "Did you even interview her, Dad?"
Jet: "I've served bottles of French wine at me events, but none of them tastes quite like this."
Dan: "And what taste would that be?"
Marty chuckled quietly from the corner of the kitchen, while Cynthia watched on with interest while continuing to slice vegetables for their main meal.
Dan appeared pleased with himself
Dan: "You're exactly right."
Jet: "I don't understand. You spend six months in France working a vintage and this is what you come back with?"
Marty's chuckle turned into genuine laughter and Cynthia looked like she was biting back a smile.
Dan: "Ouch. I thought English women were more polite."
Dan: "It's the estate's cottage. Mum and Dad's, if you want to get technical. And they're my parents, so I should be the one who has to put up with them. Not you."
Cynthia: "I love you too, darling."
Dan: 'Wine appreciation night."
Jet: "I'm sorry?"
Dan: "You, me, some bottles of wine and a pizza."
Jet: "I - I'm not up to going out."
Dan: "That's good, because we're not. This is my underhanded attempt to spend an evening at the cottage away from my parents. If you're tired, you can go upstairs to bed and I'll hide out downstairs, drinking fine wine alone."
Jet found herself smiling, the way she always did when he grinned at her.
Jet: "Underhanded attempt? I'd call that rather blatant."
Dan: "What can I say? I'm a blatant kind of guy."
Dan: "There is no such thing as too much good wine."
Jet: "I'll never be able to drink a regular bottle again."
Dan: "Nor should you."
Their eyes met and he held his glass tighter.
Dan: "See, here's the thing. When you say it, you sound like the one who's the snob."
Jet: "You bloody Australians and your preoccupation with my accent. What would you prefer? Snob or wanker?"
Dan: "Snob. Definitely snob. But only when you say it. I instantly feel knocked down a peg or two. It's magnificent."
Dan: "He hid it well. Any man couldn't help being affected by you."
Jet: "Sometimes the dreams in our head trick us into pretending someone is different to who they actually are in real life."
Jet: "You've been avoiding me."
He stepped in closer and didn't answer until she'd returned her head to his shoulder
Dan: "You seemed to need it."
Jet: "I ... thought so. Now I'm not so sure."
She laughed again, but it sounded tight
Jet: "You know why."
Dan: "I want to hear you say it."
Jet: "Don't me me say it. Then it will become real."
Dan: "It's killed me keeping my distance from you this week. And don't get me started on how hard it's been not teasing you. Truly. Do you always burn toast or was that just to piss me off?"
Her eyes sparked
Jet: "I don't like that toaster. I think it needs replacing."
Dan: "So an Australian would say 'Hey Dan, this toaster is shit. Can we get a new one?' Instead you sacrificed numerous pieces of toast in your silent protest."
Dan: "How about you let me make the decision about whether I want to get involved with you?"
Jet: "Because I know you'll go with your heart."
Dan: "And what's so wrong with that?"
Dan: "He set his sights on you, Jet, and you saw something in him, too, don't forget that. But don't let that experience colour what this is between us. I don't ever want you to lose your heart when it comes to me. I want you to catch your breath when I kiss you, tremble from my touch, cry out and say my name, but your heart is yours to keep until you choose to give it freely."
Dan: "Alright. Here's the thing. It does matter. A lot. When I have a wife, it's the first thing I'll say in the morning and the last thing I'll tell her at night. I'm one of those annoying people who leaves notes lying around too. Usually with a casual 'I love you' signoff just in case you weren't one hundred percent sure how I feel. I'll probably name a wine after her."
Jet: "Dan -"
Dan: "I'm not finished. There are texts too. I'm the sort of guy who will send his wife a text that says 'Thinking of you. Love you." And not just because I'm bored with whatever it is I'm doing, and thinking of what we can do in the bedroom later that night, which has got me distracted - although there is that."
Jet: "You've certainly given this a lot of thought."
Dan: "What can I say? I'm a family man at heart. Or in your words a 'good man'. It will be enough for someone one day, I hope."
Jet: "Dan. Stop. Just stop. Please. You're ..."
Dan waited, preparing himself for the likelihood of another nice but general compliment.
Jet: "You're like a fine wine. The sort that's been carefully cellared for many years and you wait, just keep on waiting, because you want to make sure it's the absolute right time to open the bottle. You think about it a lot. You wonder if you've built it up to be something it's not. You worry that when you do finally taste it, you'll be disappointed. But then you work up the courage to take a first sip and ..."
Jet closed her eyes and released a breathy sigh.
Jet: "And it's wonderful. On so many levels."
Her eyes flickered open again, glowing under the fairy lights.
Jet: "First the aroma. Warm and spicy. Comforting too, with an undertone of something richer that makes your blood run quicker. Then the taste. Mmm."
Her 'mmm' went straight to his groin. Expectation wasn't killing him anymore. Pure, unadulterated desire was. Jet licked her lips and Dan swallowed a groan.
Jet: "You taste decadent. There's so many different layers to discover. The bright notes that are fun and make me smile. Then the lushness hits you. So much depth, so smooth, you can just get swept away. And when you do, that's when you discover the spice. It's there on the first taste, but it's just a hint like it's being cheeky. If you wait, the spice opens up into something else entirely. It's breathtaking but not overpowering. Just perfect in every way. And lastly, the finish. The taste lingers deliciously so you can't forget. You don't want to forget because you're fairly certain it's the best wine you've ever tasted."
Andrew: "Where were you?"
Jet: "Is that what this is about?"
Andrew: "You can't just disappear off the face of the earth and not leave me with any idea of your whereabouts."
Jet: "Funny. Now that we're divorced, I thought I could do whatever the hell I like."
Andrew: "Juliet, believe me when I say I'm letting her take me for a ride and enjoying the trip. It's nothing like what you and I had."
Andrew: "No, I'm serious. You were never like that. Edie's a vixen. You're a goddess. There's no comparison."
Andrew: "Even your prim accent still turns me on."
Jet: "I can't believe I slept so well."
Dan: "You snored."
Jet: "I did not!"
Dan: "Did too. Don't worry, I think it was because your face is swollen. You were drooling on your pillow, too."
Jet: "Oh my God. Tell me you're joking."
Dan: "All I'll say is, it's not the vision I had of Juliet Temple."
Jet: "That's good because I'm not Juliet Temple anymore."
Dan: "Obviously. You're snoring, drooling Jet Appleton."
Jet: "I thought it was just me, thinking these things, feeling like this. I wanted to call you so many times when I got back to Sydney, because it was strange how my home suddenly felt so different. It was like if you weren't here with me, it didn't feel like home, which was stupid because you'd never been here before."
Dan tightened the embrace
Dan: "That's not stupid. It makes complete sense. Because my home didn't feel like home anymore with you gone, either. We'll give this out best shot, Jet, I promise."
Andrew: "You don't belong here."
Dan raised an eyebrow
Dan: "Neither do you. You heard Jet, it's time to leave."
Andrew's loud laughter shocked all of them and they watched him awkwardly, not sharing in the joke.
Andrew: "And if I don't, what will you do about it?"
Dan: "I won't do anything. I don't have anything to prove, unlike you. Jet was the one who asked me to sleep in her bed last night, not you."
They even gave her Christmas gift - wine of course. But not just any wine. A seriously good bottle of Shiraz that had been cellared carefully for an impressive number of years.
When Jet unwrapped it, Dan tapped her on the shoulder.
Dan: "Just so you know, if you open that when I'm not around you're dead to me."
Jet: "Don't tell me you're nervous, Dan Rhodes?"
Dan: "Only of being seen in public with a beautiful woman like you."
Jet: "Your beautiful woman."
Andrew: "Let me put it this way. You can walk away now with everything or walk away with nothing if you persist."
Dan didn't appear concerned.
Dan: "Seeing as Jet is everything, I won't be walking away. Ever."
Dan: "Do you want to know why you lost her?"
Andrew blinked and resisted taking a step back. He didn't hold back his sneer though.
Andrew: "I'd say it was when I fucked that slut who went public. It's a mistake Juliet has been making me pay for ever since."
Dan shook his head.
Dan: "No, it wasn't that."
Andrew glared at Dan.
Dan: "It's because you continue to underestimate her. She doesn't need your power, your connections or your money. She's capable in her own right. The minute you identified yourself as her ticket to success, you lost her."
Jet leaned into his side and looked down at her hands. The simple diamond solitaire ring glittered back up at her.
Dan followed her gaze.
Dan: "Wow. Would you look at that rock? Someone's a lucky guy."
Jet shot him an amused look. She could always trust Dan to make her smile.
Dan: "This is where you're supposed to say, ' Yeah, I know that guy and he's pretty amazing.' "
Jet smiled, and stood up, slipping her arms around his waist and resting her head on his shoulder.
Jet: "Yeah, I do know that guy. And he is pretty amazing actually. But don't tell him I said that or he'll get a big head. He's susceptible to it."
Dan's chest moved up and down with soft laughter
Dan: "I know the type."
Cynthia: "Don't deny the man some happiness. You've found yours. Your fiancee is a hard woman to forget."
Dan visibly relaxed
Dan: "Yeah, well, I don't ever plan to forget her because this time next year she'll be my wife."
Cynthia: "My darling. This is your home now. Plant something, see what grows. You deserve a place of your own after all these years."