Undercover Honeymoon by Leigh Greenwood
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1452, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24452-5
**
The mission is to smuggle the infant son of the revolutionary leader of an eastern European country in order to advance the cause of democracy and prevent a safe harbor for biological warfare development. Chosen for this assignment are seasoned veteran agent Noah Brant and novice Maggie Oliver.

Maggie had trained with the agency but quit to become a nurse. During some of her time there she and Noah had a relationship. They had parted badly, attributing their break-up to lack of communication and the ton of emotional baggage each brought to the relationship.

Maggie then married, divorced and advanced her career as a pediatric nurse, while Noah became a workaholic to try to forget her. Essentially it is Maggie’s familiarity with the country, having been born there, and her language skills that persuaded the agency she is the wisest choice.

Blackmailed by the ever-popular guilt trips laid on them by Noah’s boss, they agree to work together. Immediately the causes for their past separation surface to insure a contentious relationship. Simply said, Noah trusts no one and is afraid to love as a result of his childhood. Maggie wants a two-way relationship of loving, giving and sharing.

The book contains a lot of inner dialogue, and almost all of it focuses on these differences, in the face of the growing attraction between them. The angst created by their respective pasts is retread too many times, although Greenwood does a credible job of sustaining the sexual tension.

The author misses the opportunity of enriching the book with any scene descriptions, by merely reciting the tourist venues in Paris and points east. When they finally arrive in the small country of their destination, no effort is made create a sense of place.

While readers may be able to suspend disbelief for parts of a story, the author asks a lot to have one suspend it for almost every plot element. The travel into a hostile country, the meeting with the underground, the way in which papers are procured for smuggling children is accomplished so effortlessly it leaves one feeling that any John and Mary Doe could have made the trip.

What is really astonishing though is the use of a five-year old orphan girl named Sasha to create the circumstances of Noah’s epiphany. However, a bit of danger surfaces, and not only does Sasha save them from bad guys by her contacts in the country, but she also becomes the instrument through which Noah sees the error of his ways. Believable? Not for me. See for yourself.

--Thea Davis


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