Catch Me If You Can by Nina Bruhns
(Silh. Int. Mom. #990, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-07990-7
Catch Me If You Can, Golden Heart winner Nina Bruhns’ debut novel with Silhouette Intimate Moments, contains a clever plot, skillfully drawn characters and crisp dialogue.

Kit Colfax is an insurance investigator whose job is on the bubble due to company cutbacks. Jewelry robberies in southern Louisiana have been laid at the feet of Remi Beaulieux. Kit has to find him and retrieve the missing gems within two weeks. She locates him and sets her trap. Sporting a very expensive necklace, she maneuvers into a high stakes back room poker game in Las Vegas with Remi at the table. Kit is an exceptional poker player and contrives to lose the insurance company’s necklace to her target. She has an elaborate sting worked out to ensnare him.

The plan comes to grief when Kit discovers that “Beau” Beaulieux is impersonating his look alike cousin, and the necklace is now in the wrong hands. And Beau has his own agenda. He is a small town chief of police trying to track his cousin because he discovered Remi took their dying grandmother’s jewelry.

Kit and Beau negotiate an uncertain truce and she accompanies him back to his Louisiana plantation. Kit discovers how very rich and very powerful Beau really is. Kit’s was previously engaged to a captain of industry who tried to dominate her. She has vowed to maintain her independence and never to marry someone of that ilk. And Beau certainly fits that bill.

On the other hand, Beau knows that his marriage partner must be carefully selected to meet the requirements of the standard southern society belle. Kit comes from a small midwestern farm town and with her rabid steak of independence does not fit this stereotype. These problems conflict with their lust at first sight.

The romance between Beau and Kit virtually sizzles during their search; each is working out what action they will take when their collision courses meet. The only negative is the constant theme of “I can’t lose this job, because it is all I have and I must be independent” continually running through Kit’s mind.

Catch Me If You Can is laced with subtle humor, compassionate and distinctive characters and an intricate plot line with uniquely original twists. But Kit’s angst is surfaces frequently and repetitively, which drags the story line. This is particularly annoying because one can think of many worse problems to have in the grand scheme of things. Still, this is a very strong debut novel for Nina Bruhns.

--Thea Davis

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