Extreme Measures

McIver's Mission

Dangerous Passions by Brenda Harlen
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1394, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-274645
Dangerous Passions picks up where Bulletproof Hearts left off. If you have not read it, that story centers around the attempted destruction of a huge crime organization headed by Zane Conroy. Assistant District Attorney Natalie Vaughn, with the help of Lt. Dylan Creighton, contrived a sting operation focused on Conroy. While the sting was in process Natalieís son was being protected by her sister Shannon in Florida.

Conroy is now dead and his lieutenants are vying for the leadership position. Top contender is the mysterious A.J., whose identity is unknown to all.

Private Investigator Michael Courtland is the heir apparent to the huge Courtland family hotel fortune and has been asked by Dylan to keep an eye on Shannon, since her relationship to Natalie makes her a potential target.

Michael and Shannon meet and fall into lust and are in her hotel room when Shannon realizes someone has been there before them and gone through her things. Nervous, she realizes what she had almost done, and quickly sends Michael away. Minutes later, someone appears identifying himself as Private Investigator Courtland knocks and she lets him in. He drugs her and she wakes up on a boat speeding toward her certain death.

Shannon overhears her captors discussing her probable demise and she escapes by jumping overboard and swimming away, having no knowledge where or how far away land might be. Meanwhile back at the hotel, Michael sees her being abducted, gives chase in his sisterís boat and finds her in the water. They head toward an island when Peart, the kidnapper, returns and blows the boat out of the water. Luckily, Michael sees it coming and they are in the water swimming away when the boat explodes.

Now they are on a deserted island and survival becomes the issue, not to mention the predictable boa constrictor. When Peart returns to the island to kill them, they capture him and are rescued.

But the story is not over; just who is AJ? And why has Shannon received an undue amount of attention from the syndicate? The answer lies in the past, commingled with some of the angst of one of the principals.

Despite all the convenient escapes, the characters of this book are well constructed and the plot evolves smoothly and with unexpected twists. Scenes shift gently and meaningfully, with a strong sense of setting. The dialogue is crisp, and although each character is imbued with varied emotional baggage it is not overburdening.

The interesting plot line balanced by too many convenient contrived happenstances make Dangerous Passions an average read.

--Thea Davis

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