Black-Tie Seduction

In His Loving Arms

Lone Star Knight

Marriage, Outlaw Style

The Outlaw Jesse James

The Outlaw's Wife

To the Edge

To the Brink by Cindy Gerard
(St. Martins, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-312-99093-6
To the Brink is the third book in Cindy Gerardís Bodyguard series. E.D.E.N is a family security agency started by the father, now employing his adult children. All the children have had experience in covert operations, either in the CIA or in the governmentís Special Forces units. This story features son Ethan and his former wife Darcy Prescott.

The author has invested a lot of time in research of Peru and the Philippines, evidenced by the great sense of place she furnishes as the story moves through these areas. Gerard jumps from flashbacks to thepresent time and again, varying the pacing while holding reader interest.

The story opens with a telephone message from Darcy to her ex-husband Ethan begging him for help, telling him she is afraid she is in trouble. She is presently assigned to Manila, as part of the diplomatic service. Shortly after the call, Darcy is kidnapped. A secretary had given her a tape just prior to that secretaryís death by an alleged hit and run. Although Darcy had not had time to hear the tape, she links the death to it, and mails it to herself in the States. It is on her trip back to the hotel from her mail drop that she is picked off the street.

Her kidnapping is reported; Ethan gathers his brothers and best friend and heads to the Philippines to rescue her. Their data is able to locate the specific island where probability is highest that she is being held.

Meanwhile flashbacks reveals a couple that met while both were on assignment in Lima, fell passionately in love and married. On one of their infrequent times together, Darcy is attacked on the street and Ethan quickly and simply kills the attacker. Her horror at the ease he can accomplish this with an apparent lack of regret causes Ethan to think she is backing away. In reality, his guilt is consuming him, and eventually leads to their divorce and his voluntary separation from the armed services.

The rescue is not an easy job and the subsequent uncovering of the kidnapping plot adds more dimensions to this fast moving story, which has suspense and sexual tension moving in parallel.

Characters are extremely well drawn and the secondary characters for the most part profit from having been around in other books. Even if this is the first Gerard book you have read, you are left with the feeling that they are old friends - a unique talent of the writer.

First time readers will no doubt start seeking Gerardís prior books in the Bodyguard series, which in reality is one of the greatest tributes to an author. This one is strongly recommended.

--Thea Davis

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