Against the Fire

Against the Wind

The Christmas Clock

Dangerous Passions

Desert Heat

The Devil's Necklace

The Dream

Fanning the Flame

The Fire Inside

Heartless

Midnight Sun

Hot Rain

Night Secrets

Perfect Sin

Reese's Bride

Royal's Bride

Rule's Bride

The Secret

Scent of Roses

Silk & Steel

 
Against the Law
by Kat Martin
(Mira, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-07783-2940-4
****
Kat Martin finishes her ďAgainst theĒ trilogy about the Raines brothers with a story that is very different from what I expected from having met Devlin Raines in the first two books. This reads a little like a Diana Palmer story of mercenaries; in fact, Martin introduces a couple of new characters that she hints may have stories of their own. Against the Law is close to being as good as the other two tales, but even falling short is still one that keeps the reader plastered to her seat and filled with scenes that are taut, scary and filled with excitement.

Devlin Raines is the youngest of the Raines brothers from Wind Canyon Wyoming. Devlin, along with his brothers, was raised by a drunken mother, who often forgot the boys were around. If not for his brothers, Devlin could easily have ended up in jail. He did end up in the Rangers and now owns a successful security company in Tucson. He has a reputation for the ladies, mainly one or two night stands. He was engaged once, but his so-called love decided three days before the wedding that a blueblood with more money was really her cup of tea. Devlin had his heart broken and vowed to never let it happen againÖfamous last words.

Lark Delaney may just be the woman to change his mind. Lark waltzes into his Tucson office with a mission in mind. Her sister died of cancer and on her deathbed, made Lark promise to search for the little girl she gave up for adoption four years ago. She had always regretted the decision and wanted Lark to ensure that the child was with loving parents. Despite his immediate attraction, Devlin only accepted the job because an old friend from the Rangers, who happened to have saved his life, sent Lark to Dev. He figures he can do some snooping and the case would be closed in a heartbeat. Since he never mixed business with pleasure, closing the case fast would allow him to act on that attraction.

But things get way more complicated that anyone planned. First, there are clear indications that the adoption agency was a scam. Second and more importantly, when they finally uncover the people involved, they send them to a lovely household where three men are just finishing with shooting everyone in the house. Luckily, little Chrissy was spared when her Nanny put her in a closet. Unfortunately, Lark is a fairly famous person (being a well-known purse designer connected to an equally well-known fashion house) and the press goes wild with the story of the childís rescue. This publicity puts her in the limelight as a hero. The Mexican drug dealer who ordered the hit on the family (whose head of household was stealing while supposedly laundering money for the cartel) got ticked off with hurt pride. He orders a kidnapping of the little girl to get back at Lark.

Needless to say, Devlin is not about to let this go. He promises Lark he will rescue the girl again. He and his band of past Rangers get together and engages in an elaborate operation to get the girl and if necessary, kill the head of the Cartel. And of course, Lark convinced him that she too had to go! The men who helped are all macho, but caring and it is a group that anyone would want covering their backs.

Devlin and Lark fight their attraction and their budding romance throughout, although they donít always succeed. They fall in love, but each denies it, primarily due to Devlinís feelings about not falling in love again and Larkís recognition that they are just too fundamentally different to make the compromises they would need to make it work.

I enjoyed this tale, and was riveted at times, even as I wondered if anything they were doing was feasible. Devlin is a tad hardheaded, but he ias also a great guy. Lark is a strong woman and her resilience with the horrors she encountered is amazing. The little girl Chrissy is a very mature four-year old, but that was a minor distraction, overall.

Fans of the series should be thrilled by this tale, even though Devlin turns out a little different than expected. Against the Law will stand alone, however, for those who havenít read the first two books. Enjoy it either way.

--Shirley Lyons


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