Best Man for the Job
by Meredith Fletcher
(HRS #1670, $5.25, PG) ISBN 978-0373-27740-7
***
Headline: “Bachelor party gone Awry! Groom kidnapped while the girl is jumping out of the Cake!” Follow-up story: “Private eye and ex-mercenary soldier team up to catch the bad guys and rescue the groom!”

If you can live with and enjoy a story that could be subtitled by those scandal paper headlines, then you can probably enjoy Best Man for the Job. If it is all a bit too much, then this may not be the suspense story for you. I actually enjoyed the tale despite the sensationalism.

Callen Storm is attending his soon to be brother-in-law’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but his sister Jenny begged him to watch out for her fiancé, Daniel Steadman, son of the founder of the very wealthy Steadman Pharmaceuticals. Callen reluctantly agreed and found himself around a lot of drunk and generally entitled men who thought the world should fall at their feet due to their business prowess, or that of their fathers. Daniel is a good guy, but just nothing like Callen. Callen had been in the service and for the most part, he had done things he didn’t care to share in the line of duty.

Eryn McAdams is a security expert and has worked by a security company who specializes in protecting people as they go about their business in Vegas. She knows how to take care of herself, yet feels she always has to prove it due to her looks. As the story opens, she is helping out a dancer friend, as she sometimes does, serving as the dancing entertainment for the bachelor party. Her role: look hot in the skimpy outfit she has chosen as she jumps out of the cake. She doesn’t do anything but dance and let the men look. However, Callen is suspicious right from the start. He doesn’t like that she is a replacement and his antenna are up.

He is angry but not surprised that just as Ms McAdams jumps out of the cake, masked men storm the room and kidnap Daniel. Callen is determined to get him back for her sister and he has Eryn as the only clue to the identity of the kidnappers. Once he realizes she isn’t involved, they have been shot at and escaped. So the two of them team up to find Daniel before the deadline for the ransom drop – after all, they are pretty sure Daniel won’t come out alive once the men get their money.

I actually enjoyed all the drama and action. These two were slow to trust each other and they started off on the wrong foot. But both are good people and quickly recognize they need to work together. Their romance, while happening very quickly, is engaging and fun to read. Sure there are some rather spectacular scenes, like getting shot at in a parking garage with no weapons of their own and living to tell about it. And there was some rather amazing investigative work that was way ahead of the police, such as identifying the “inside man” pretty quickly. And of course, there was the totally outrageous way they found the men and saved the day. But hey, it was a fun ride along the way.

Sometimes a reader just has to suspend her beliefs to truly enjoy a fictional account of a rather frightening event like a kidnapping. And with Best Man for the Job, being able to shelve those twinges of believability goes a long way towards enjoying this story. It will be up to you to determine if you are one of those readers.

--Shirley Lyons


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