Constant Craving

For Her Eyes Only

Just Eight Months Old

License to Thrill

The P. I. Who Loved Her

You Only Love Once

Never Say Never Again
by Tori Carrington
(Harl. Tempt. #837, $3.99, R) 0-373-25937-9
Never Say Never Again is the fifth and final title in Carrington's "Magnificent McCoy Men" series. Connor McCoy, the oldest of five brothers and the last unmarried, and Bronte O'Brien, best friend of Kelli Hatfield McCoy, the new wife of Connor's youngest brother David, are the leads in this story.

As the oldest son, Connor had taken on most of the responsibility for rearing his brothers after his mother died and his police officer father had fallen into alcoholism in his grief. He loves his brothers, but he hides any feelings of uncertainty or confusion from them as he had to when they were all young. He has an uneasy relationship with his now-recovered father and has no plans to ever have a family.

Bronte has dated lots of men. Most of them have been fun and casual, but she was serious about the last man she dated. She had even accepted an engagement ring from him until she accidentally discovered that he already had a wife. Since that heartbreak, she has not dated at all. Connor and Bronte met years earlier when they were in college. They now see each other occasionally because of their work. Connor is a U.S. Marshal and specializes in protecting key witnesses needed for upcoming trials. Bronte is a junior U.S. Attorney who sometimes recommends witnesses be protected. There is an attraction between the two of them that they have not acknowledged.

At Kelli and David's wedding reception, Connor and Bronte leave the hotel to get away from the festivities neither is enjoying and end up in a passionate kiss. When both of their phones ring, they are suddenly even more involved because the witness Bronte's department had under Connor's protection has been found murdered and Connor is the prime suspect.

As the evidence continues to build up against Connor, he finds that he needs Kelli's help. Because she doesn't believe that Connor committed the crime, Kelli puts her job on the line to try and find out who did kill the witness and who is trying to frame Connor. While I was pretty sure I knew who was behind the set-up by about mid-point in the book, the clues to how it was done were skillfully arranged until the appropriate time toward the end.

Despite the suspenseful thrust of the story, the relationship elements were more engaging. Neither Connor nor Bronte is very trusting in relationships, but the strong attraction sizzles throughout their encounters. In fact, a few times when I thought they should be discussing Connor's dilemma, they skipped right to the passion.

For those readers who have read all the previous books, there are numerous mentions of the lives of the other brothers and the father. If you haven't read all of them, you will probably miss a number of references mentioned. I reviewed the fourth book of this series, but I was still in the dark about a number of references. This final book is not really a stand-alone title. It would need to be longer so that more background information could be included about the other brothers to be a successful stand-alone. I recommend reading the series in order to get a fuller understanding of the family dynamics.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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