Flirting with Danger
by Jamie Denton
(Harl. Tempt. #708, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25808-9
***
Detective Mason O'Neill's boredom while on a stakeout is suddenly broken when he notices a young woman who's walking the downtown LA streets. Although she's dressed as a hooker, she keeps refusing offers from interested men. What gives?

Bailey Grayson, from Wisconsin, is in LA trying to locate her run-away sister. The private investigator she hired to find the teenager has information that she's been spotted in LA. The last report is that Bailey's sister had been seen with pimp Devon Shore, the very person that Detective O'Neill is staking out.

When an overeager customer tries to force Bailey into his car, O'Neill intercedes, almost blowing his cover. This DOES NOT make him happy. For most of the book, I dubbed him 'Ol' Thundercloud'. He 'arrests' Bailey and takes her to the station house. Fate plays a trick on him when his superiors decide that Bailey's idea of being a plant in the pimp's organization is exactly the key they need to break up Shore's nefarious operation. They suspect Shore of more them pimping. White slavery may be the final result.

'Ol' Thundercloud' spends lots of time lusting after Bailey and teaching her self-defense. He spends equal amounts of time fuming about her involvement and trying to talk her out of her quest. Jamie Denton had done such a credible job of describing Bailey's despair and need to find her sister that I found the romance taking a back seat to Bailey's pursuit. Occasionally a character's despair is so poignantly written that it overshadows all else. With that in mind, I always find it difficult to enjoy the sexual intimacy when there's a higher purpose at stake–finding a lost child or missing relative/friend or something as horrific as drawing out a murderer.

To twist things even further, Flirting with Danger is a Blaze book. They're billed as the 'red-hot reads.' I could not get my mind off Bailey's goal: to infiltrate a white slavery ring. It's like enjoying sex when you've got the flu. It ain't gonna' happen.

I thought long and hard about my rating for this book. Usually having to think long and hard means that whatever I decide, I won't be satisfied. I considered a four, but in the end, wasn't comfortable with it. The theme of a dark, dangerous law enforcement hunk who is at odds with Mary Sunshine civilian helper is a theme that's been done before. It's been done better and it's been done lots, lots worse. But the bottom line is that it's been done before and before and before...

There's nothing original here. Perhaps I've been reading too long and am in danger of becoming jaded but nothing particularly intrigued me about Flirting with Danger.

If you're a new reader or a reader who really enjoys police dramas, then Flirting with Danger is a interesting book to read. If, however, you're like me and have read this plot line before –– many times, then you may want to skip this one.

--Linda Mowery


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