The Man She Almost Married
by Maggie Price
(Silhouette Intimate Moments #838, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07838-2
****
The Man She Almost Married flees town three days before the wedding. Leaving his secretary to contact the 500 invited guests, groom-to-be Sloan Remington disappears. Julia Cruze, the jilted bride-to-be, searches for him without success and, in the ensuing two years, slowly manages to put her life back together.

As the book opens, Julia is engaged to an Assistant District Attorney, is working in a job she loves, and is proud of her promotion to Sergeant in the Detective Division. As Julia and her partner prepare to go out on their latest homicide, she learns that it took place in Remington Industry's parking lot. Julia is reluctant to go; she does not want her past life and the memories that go with it to invade the present.

The murder victim is Vanessa West. Beautiful, cold, manipulative and witchy, she had given new meaning to the term "calculating corporate ladder-climber." No one is willing to admit having liked her. And it is common knowledge that she had used sex as a tool for career advancement.

As the investigation begins, Julia is stunned to find that Sloan Remington has returned to town, and in fact, has been back for three months without ever trying to contact her. On the day of the murder, he had entered the parking lot shortly after Vanessa. The murder was a shooting. Not only was Sloan a good shot, but he owned five guns matching the caliber of the murder weapon. Worse, there is evidence that Vanessa had accompanied Sloan to a museum party the night before, and had threatened him.

As she investigates the crime, Julia against her will finds herself rushing headlong toward the resolution of not one, but two mysteries: the death of Vanessa West, and the real reason that Sloan left her. As the investigation progresses, a fact-to-face confrontation with Sloan becomes inevitable.

Maggie Price does an excellent job of building the tension between Sloan and Julia. Price balances Julia's burgeoning love with the homicide investigation in a well crafted suspense story. The scenes move the story quickly along, with the dynamics of each scene nicely varied. The supporting characters are credible but non-intrusive. Simply stated, this book has a lot to offer both as a romance and as a suspense novel.

--Thea Davis


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