Gift of Gold by Jayne Ann Krentz
Being a tough taskmaster and a great cook made Verity Ames a success with her Colorado restaurant. And her new employee, Jonas Quarrel, followed her orders to a "T" during the working hours. It was when the day was done that his lazy smile and bedroom eyes threatened to make him the boss who could turn her from a she-cat into a kitten. So hot-tempered Verity taunted him that she would never surrender to a drifter like Jonas, who left a prestigious career as a Renaissance scholar to roam the world. But Jonas suspected the lady protesteth too much. His plan was to tame the shrew by seducing her; crumbling her defenses with nibbles, bites, and kisses; melting her resistance with his fiery passion; and making his love seem like heaven until his hellish past caught up with him. For Jonas had not arrived at Verity's kitchen by accident. She was the key to a chilling secret that had nearly destroyed him. And now he needed to woo her and win her -- even if he endangered both of their lives and broke her heart!
Jonas first saw Verity when she was fleeing from a would-be attacker in a back alley in Mexico. He had followed to assist her if necessary and discovered that his mystery lady had lost an earring in her flight for safety. He picked it up and felt something--a knowledge that she would be important to him. A few months later he has finally tracked Verity down to Sequence Springs where Verity runs a vegetarian restaurant that catered to locals and visitors of a nearby health spa. Jonas responds to Verity's want ad and is hired as waiter, dishwasher and handyman.
Verity is drawn to Jonas and a romantic relationship is developing between them. It is during this time that Verity learns of Jonas's psychometric talent--when Jonas handles antique weapons and artifacts, particularly from the Renaissance period, he is drawn into the past and experiences what the owners experienced. Unfortunately, the more violent the memory the harder it is for Jonas to remove himself and return to the present. It was due to this ability that he had left his roots in historical studies behind and become a drifter.
Verity and Jonas are soon drawn into an intrigue involving an eccentric, and reclusive, artist who has plans of revenge in mind. Unknown to Verity and Jonas they will be playing starring roles in an intricate plot she is planning to take down a figure from her past who had changed her life forever. Verity and Jonas will have to put their complete trust in each other and in Jonas's abilities in order to make it out unscathed. The fact that Verity is able to help Jonas maintain control over his abilities further muddies the waters as Verity cannot be sure why Jonas is with her--is it only for the help she can give him or does he have deeper feelings for her? With all of the danger and intrigue surrounding them, this doubt could prove to be very dangerous for all involved.
This 1988 paranormal romance by Jayne Ann Krentz features the quick witted dialogue and independent female lead that JAK is well know for. Jonas is a wonderful male lead who strikes a delicate balance between "taming" Verity's sharper edges while also enjoying the "little tyrant" aspects of Verity's personality. These two really do prove that sometimes the whole is greater than the parts.
What's In a Name
Hard Core Re-read
I purchased this book with my own funds.