Author: Karen Robards
ISBN: 9780446353915
Publisher: Grand Central (Hachette Book Group)

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 Author Karen Robards is a NY Times bestseller and one of the best known names in romance today. She has won numerous awards, including three Affaire de Coeur Silver Pen Awards for favorite romance author. Other titles include: Guilty, Obsession, Vanished, Superstition, Wild Orchids, To Love A Man, and Dark Torment. She resides  with her family in Louisville, Kentucky.

When romance writer Clara Winston has her home broken into and she’s forced to put her safety into the hands of a stranger, her life suddenly becomes dangerously close to one of her sizzling novels. Especially when said stranger is CIA agent Jack McClain, a handsome and exciting man to a fault. A man with a past that is better left a secret. Now running from a deadly enemy, Jack and Clara must uncover the truth behind a lethal international conspiracy, one in which no one can be trusted and the body count is rising.

The original copyright publication for this book was 1987, with reissues in 1993 and 2009. Due to the time frame this was originally written, readers will have to take that into consideration because there are references to Vietnam, as well as current events that aren’t fitting for now. Aside from those brief references, it should not be distracting or deterring to read.

The only drawback to the book was that I felt the epilogue was a bit rushed. After everything that happened between these two, it was a great ending, but rushing it felt anti-climactic.

It’s no surprise why Karen Robards has captured her readers for as long as she has. Her writing style is both intelligent and alluring, blending both romance and suspense equally, while never losing sight of the real world. It makes for an engaging escape into her books without that little voice inside your head saying, “yeah, right.” The setting for this book, looping through Virginia and North Carolina, are beautifully portrayed. The secondary characters, including the antagonists, are realistic and flawed, adding to the plot nicely. The action sequences were appropriately interesting, including a scene where Jack and Clara were in captivity, sparing no niceties you often see in romance. Most of all, the romance and heat between the hero and heroine was well-paced and not over-gushy, making you aware of place and time and getting lost regularly. Clara, at times, could be quite irritating the way she argued with Jack on every little thing, but it added tension and I reminded myself that she’d been through a lot. A highly recommended read from this brilliant author!

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