Virgin in Disguise
by Rosemary Heim
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1332, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27402-5
This is arguably one of the best-titled books Iíve read in a long time. And Rosemary Heim is absolutely on point in her first offering for Intimate Moments.

Frank Cabrini is working undercover as a private investigator for a Washington, DC, firm and his case takes him to Minneapolis to investigate a very old arson-murder case. He awakens from a drug-induced sleep to find himself handcuffed and in the custody of a bounty hunter who claims he has jumped bond. Having little choice, he opts to wait the bounty hunter out.

Angela Donovan sees herself as a bail bond enforcer. With many years experience, taking Frank down was actually childís play. Her familyís close friend, Dex, is her client and she contacts him for instructions. He is stunned she has managed this so quickly and asks for the huge favor of her stowing Frank someplace until the time is right for him to talk with him.

Reluctantly Angela complies knowing that what she is doing is illegal but it is her way of acknowledging the tremendous debt she feels with Dex. He and her father had been partners when her dad had been killed in an arson murder. Since that time he had looked after Angela and her mother.

Angela and Frank head for Dexís mountain cabin where Angela intends to keep him. She is a mistress of disguises slipping in and out of them so artfully that she in part has lost track of who she really is.

Frank could probably have gotten away at any time but is intrigued by the thought that Angela is indeed his clientís daughter. Attempts on their lives soon become de rigueur, and what starts as an adversarial relationship slowly evolves into one that accommodates the sexual attraction between them.

Heimís characters are taut and the story demonstrates a tremendous amount of creativity and originality. Some of Angelaís disguises suffer from being overdone, but the fast pace alleviates any tedium that might result from this.

The dialog is crisp, poignant and humorous in places. The character interaction is superb; the plot is intricately crafted. Some of the structural premises require a suspension of disbelief of everyday business practices. The most basic is that Frankís agency has undertaken a two-month undercover investigation with no upfront money, and no payment. It is also never satisfactorily explained how a serial arsonist can pyramid these skills into a fortune, when he is not working for hire.

That said, Virgin in Disguise is fun and a great debut for Rosemary Heim.

--Thea Davis

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