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Dangerous to Love
by Sally Tyler Hayes
(Silh. Int. Mom. #713, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07903-6
****
In a fast-paced spy story with well developed, likable characters, Sally Tyler Hayes has produced her steamiest and best book to date.

Super spy Dan Reese was the instructor in one of the government's covert agencies when Jaime Douglass entered the program. Generally opposed to women field agents, Dan was tougher on Jaime than her classmates. Still, both were unaware each was suffering from unrequited lust. Dangerous to Love opens years later as they ignite this passion in one searing kiss.

Both of their teams have been assigned close surveillance of a safe house to protect three VIP scientists. Jaime goes off duty arranging to meet Dan for what she is sure will be the consummation of her heart's desire. Instead it is her partner Josh who knocks on the door, shocking her with the news that Dan and his partner have been injured and another agent killed. And one of the scientists is missing.

Dan is in critical condition with a spinal injury, and it is impossible to judge whether or not his paralysis is permanent. There are other complications, and he is in a real fight for his life. A loner by background, his failed marriage strengthens his determination to fight alone. Jaime, who comes from a loving family, is hurt by his refusal to reach out. Macho man that he is, he checks himself out of the hospital and disappears into a posh rehab facility refusing to see her.

Jaime is assigned the task of investigating the incident. Because the scientist is so important, it is necessary for the survival of the agency that someone take the blame. Since it is obvious that Dan will never return as a field agent, he is the designated dupe. Jaime fights this and starts her own sub rosa investigation to clear Dan. She quickly learns that she's playing in very dangerous waters.

From lust to passion to love with a couple who carry a ton of emotional baggage can be a ponderous read if the author dwells on the angst of the characters. Sally Tyler Hayes has a remarkable ability to define the anguish, and move on from there. What a nice change to have characters that are able to articulate their problems rather than suffer in silence. The resolution of the spy story is reached a bit too quickly, but this is but a minor detail in an exceptional book.

--Thea Davis


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