Beauty & the Badge

Bride of Trouville

The Highland Wife

In Harm's Way

The Knight's Bride
Live-In Lover

Marrying Mischief

My Lady's Choice

The Quest

The Scot

The Wilder Wedding

Down to the Wire by Lyn Stone
(Silh. Int. Mom.#1281, $4.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-273517
With the establishment of the Homeland Security Office, there is now another avenue for writers to follow. Combining a person from each of six major agencies, the new organization Sextant is formed to combat terrorism. Agent Joe Corda is the DEA representative the group hopes will join them. However, Joe is deep undercover in Columbia, having not had a break in the field for three years.

The Sextant profiler advises the group that Joe is about to burn out, so a contract agency is hired to extract him. Just as he is about to be removed, things fall apart. Humberto, the Columbian drug lord, is losing his tight rein. His drugs and money have gone up in smoke and he is about to kill Joe when a beautiful woman Joe thinks is Humberto’s mistress shoots Humberto.

In reality Martine Duquesne had been captured by Humberto and was being held for ransom while he was trying to woo her. She had come to Humberto’s drug compound looking for her missing brother who had been the contract employee hired to extract Joe. When she realizes Joe is the undercover agent, and not one of Humberto’s right hand men, she acts swiftly to save him.

Thereafter, Martine pretends she is the agent and with carefully made back up plans, she gets Joe safely out of Colombia. Back in Atlanta her real job is an information officer or glorified gofer and secretary for the firm her brother works for. Being an adrenalin junkie at heart, Martine longs for the fieldwork other people do - these other people who ultimately in her eyes make a difference.

Thus Martine is arriving at the point in her life that Joe has outgrown. Although immediate lust overcomes both of them, Joe realizes they are too far apart to make any relationship work so he starts back to Washington. While in the airport he spots Humberto and thugs. Knowing that Humberto is after Martine, he doubles back to her apartment and snatches her and they flee.

The story unfolds with a master chase scene and a ripening of the sexual relationship between them. It is predictable in part, with some unusual twists here and there.

Both the major and minor characters are developed only so far as is necessary for the plot line. The settings in the chase scenes are fairly well described and realistic. The romance side of the story is not quite as convincing.

With clever pacing Down to the Wire unfolds swiftly. The occasional bursts of inventiveness however, cannot elevate this story to more than an average rating.

--Thea Davis

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