Awaken to Danger

Code of Honor

Fully Engaged

Grayson's Surrender
On Target

Pursued

Taking Cover

Wedding at White Sands

 
Out of Uniform
by Catherine Mann
(SRS #1501, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27571-4
***
Air Force Sergeant Jacob Stone is one of Mann's Wingmen Warriors. His call sign is Mako and his specialty is engine repair. This story opens as the reader finds him on leave outside Tacoma, Washington to settle his father's estate. Not only must Jacob bring some resolution to the problem of the run down motel his father had used to support himself, but also to help his teenage sister, an unwed mother, still in high school.

It is snowing with an icy wind when a garishly clad woman stumbles into the motel office. Motel key in hand she declares she is ready to check out.  She is clearly the Mrs. Smith of the couple who had checked in the night before.  She finds her account has been prepaid; distressed, she then wants a receipt. Her next request is for a cab, which due to the distance to Tacoma is not serviced by their companies. As she leaves, Jacob figures it is not his problem that her boyfriend left her stranded.

His well developed protector instincts kick in when he realizes she is throwing up on his doorstep. Realizing she really is in trouble, Jacob offers her a very temporary job as a maid. The lady calls herself Dee and she is unable to provide him a name or address. She had taken the name Dee because she had found a locket with the letter D around her neck.

When she reveals she has amnesia, Jacob really does not believe her and figures she is merely playing him. Even with a well worn plot device, the book becomes interesting as the author does a fine job of developing character depth in the posturing that accompanies disbelief pitted against a woman who will brook no charity and insists on earning her way.

When Jacob finally realizes she is telling the truth he quickly gets her to the base, to one of the Wingmen doctors, and then enlists his friends to help. The doctor confirms what she has already observed; that her abdominal scar is from a cesarean birth and Dee is beset by the torment of the possibility of a child somewhere.

The well known resources of the Wingman spring into action, as the budding romance between Dee and Jacob grows. An interesting sub plot is the relationship between Jacob's sister Emily, her infant daughter Madison, and the father Chase. This adds dimension to the story rounding it out nicely.

Each character has his special torments, and their special angst grows in predictable but warm ways as the story reaches its resolution. The story is also a comforting visit with heroes that Mann has created in her recent novels. An excellent writer, once created, these figures remain familiar if not memorable.

--Thea Davis


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