Dangerous to Love

Spies, Lies & Lovers

Wife, Mother...Lover?

Cinderella & the Spy
by Sally Tyler Hayes
(Silh. Int. Mom # 1001, $4.50, PG0 ISBN 0-373-27071-2
Category romance authors often use a common theme or related characters and label these books a series. While Sally Tyler Hayes often uses this device, her books aren’t actually labeled with a series name. By my count, Cinderella and the Spy is her fourth Intimate Moment in what could arguably be called, a series. This is important because it doesn't stand alone quite as well as the others.

Division One is a counter-terrorist secret governmental agency. Amanda Wainwright is a secretary who, in earlier book, had been betrayed by her fiancé and then by her boss. A year later the Court of Inquiry has finally cleared her of any wrongdoing or knowledge of the crimes. The year had drained her resources and cast her into an insidious depression.

Handsome, debonair, rich, perfect Josh Carter is an ambassador's son who weaves his way through diplomatic circles as a playboy. In his real life, he works as an agent for Division One. He has watched Amanda's descent for a year hoping she would find someone else. Realizing that she has not, he takes it upon himself to become her friend and bring her back into the world of the living.

Naïve, virginal Amanda meets the big bad wolf knowing full well she is out of her league. Realizing that this girl is not one that he can love and leave, Josh backs off. Unfortunately his plans go awry when Rudy, a very deadly adversary, sees them together. Rudy highlights the danger to Amanda by sending her flowers and inviting them to a dinner party together. Allegedly, Rudy is an intermediary in uranium sales for weapons, but this side of the novel is less well developed than the romance side.

Some readers may find this is not all bad as Hayes creates incredible sexual tension between Josh and Amanda. However, Josh is full of the "I can't do this for your own good" and "I will never marry.” These lines get a bit redundant as Amanda begins to learn her powers over a man tortured by self-denial.

The suspense side of the story draws them to Europe together where everything is resolved in some contrived scenes. And yet, if you are reading this book for the romance you can easily overlook this.

Hayes has a true gift for creating memorable, empathetic characters in novels that focus almost entirely on developing relationships. Her dialogue is fine-tuned to the circumstances, although her scene segues are sometimes lacking. The challenge of taking two such opposite characters, softening edges here, and toughening edges there, and then bringing them to a credible middle ground is easily met by this talented author.

--Thea Davis

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