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Lucky’s Woman
by Linda Winstead Jones
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1433, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-27503-X
4 Hearts Despite a slightly overprotective hero, Lucky’s Woman is both suspenseful and an exciting love story that also happens to involve a woman’s psychic abilities and a serial killer looking to kill people in love.

Annie Lockhart has had psychic powers for years, but she shuts them off whenever she can and hates that she is so “blessed.” Several years ago, she had a vision of a murder and ended up having to convince the police, her mother and her (now ex-) fiancé that she did not commit the crime. She moved from Nashville to Mercerville, a small town in the hills of Tennessee. Now more visions are back and she can’t ignore them. She is seeing things that a killer sees and he has just killed a couple, making it look like a murder-suicide. Annie decides to hire private investigators first to prove that the crime took place, before even attempting to discuss anything with the police. Her instincts send her to the Benning Agency and investigator Lucky Santana.

Lucky is a man who requires logic and who hates emotion, having scars from his parents and his ex-wife. He does not easily trust. He loves women, usually loving them and leaving them often. The only woman he has been really close to is his ex-partner from his work as a policeman. Sadie is now married with a couple of children and Lucky is their “uncle.” The fact that Sadie and her husband work for the Benning Agency keeps them in touch. At times Lucky is jealous of Sadie’s happiness, but he keeps those feelings tightly locked away. He came to Mercerville expecting to tell Annie, whom he has labeled a “kook,” to forget her stories and get a life. But when Annie knows things about Lucky that no one could possibly know, he is intrigued (and a little ticked off). He also sees how much she believes what she is saying, so he cuts her some slack and agrees to look into things.

The story progresses as they realize that the villain needs to be within close range for Annie to feel him, giving them a reason to start looking at men in the area and asking some of Lucky’s old buddies to start searching for other suspicious murder-suicides, like the one that just occurred in Mercerville. When Annie sees the murderer staking out another couple, Lucky gets the idea to fake that they are an item, being bait in trying to draw out the murderer.

There are some issues with the plot that include why they never really went to the police, even after they have evidence, or how Annie could afford to pay for this when she runs a small business and doesn’t seem rich. But realistically, these details don’t play a part of the tale when the reader is too caught up in the suspense, their playing at love (which is turning real) and their discovery of each other. Annie is a psychic who doesn’t want to be and yet she hates to be too intrusive into Lucky’s brain because she wants him to learn to trust her. Lucky is cautious because of his past, yet he is drawn to Annie and both hates and loves that he is.

The suspense is tense, as we see what Annie sees. There are several suspects and for once, clues may lead another reader astray as they did to me. Once divulged, the villain was easy to spot, but Jones gave us enough to truly make it a puzzle until then.

Lucky is a great hero, being a tad too overprotective, but ultimately letting Annie be who she is and accepting that. He is caring, macho and yet has just enough angst to make him vulnerable. Annie has a touch of mystery due to her gift, but is basically the all-American girl, one whom the reader can get behind and root for in the romance.

Lucky’s Woman is a taut romantic suspense story that is full of romance, mystery, and two people who deserve a happy ever after. This one is well worth your time.

--Shirley Lyons

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