Private Lies by Robyn Amos
(Arabesque, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN: 0-7860-0496-7
****
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

Jaunie Sterling abandoned the glamour and glitz of a modeling career to become a dog catcher. But decoy work wasn't all fun and games for Jaunie. "Helping women catch their cheating lovers was disheartening work. She no longer relished the cool flavor that came with sending stray dogs back to the pound."

Enter Trent Douglas. Hired by Trent's fiancée to seduce him, Jaunie finally finds a man who won't take the bait. She's found her honest man! When he discovers he's been set up, Trent is more than a tad miffed. He dumps his untrusting fiancée and has more than a few choice words for Jaunie.

Their paths cross again five years later. His consulting company is in the same building as her private investigation firm. Jaunie no longer works as a decoy. She went back to school, got her license and opened a firm that has been honored for its work finding missing children.

But Trent knows how to hold a grudge – big time. The last honest man doesn't care if she's the last woman on earth.

When a case she's working on literally leads to his front door, they agree to work together and eventually settle into peaceful co-existence. They become friends. Their friendship intensifies and they discover their love.

This realization proves men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Jaunie breaks out in warm fuzzies. Trent gets a case of cold pricklies. She's talking hearts, flowers and romance. He's using 12-step program metaphors like "falling off the wagon." Trent has a dubious track record with women. There is no doubt in his mind that he loves Jaunie. To insulate himself from getting hurt, he tells her he doesn't love her. The private lie...

Private Lies is only Robyn Amos' second book. Her characters are believable and likeable. We care what happens to them. There are two engaging subplots that don't detract from the main story. Amos offers a glimpse into the world of private investigators and shares information about the plight of missing children without getting stiff. Her messages are subtle.

Robyn Amos is one of the genre's emerging writers. She's one to watch out for.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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