Forbidden Magic

Wicked Magic

Moving Target
by Cheyenne McCray
(St. Martin's, 6.99, R)  ISBN:  978-0-312-93764-4
The second heart is only for decent action sequences in this disappointment by McCray.  What would have been a palatable if predictable romantic suspense quickly (and by "quickly", I mean within the first ten pages) became tawdry due to the characters' inability to think about anything but sex (and most of the time, their thinking was pretty repetitive and a little offensive).  Despite the fact that our main character, Anistana King, is in a witness protection program, the constant danger to her life plays a backseat role in Moving Target.

Daniel has been Ani's guard from the beginning, and from the beginning (even though Ani is 7 sizes smaller now than she was at the time of her family's tragedy, which throws Daniel enough that you get to read about it five or six times) the two of them have had the hots for one another.  Two years before, Ani's father had tried to cut his ties with the Russian mafia.  Ani walked in on him being murdered, with her mother and sister close behind.  The house was torched, and Ani was only able to drag her sister's body out with her.  

Now, as Ani Carter, Ani lives in Arizona working in an antique store while she waits to testify against the man and the organization that killed her father.  After making a critical but well-meant error in judgment, Ani needs to be rescued by Daniel.  Since this all happens days before the trial for her family's murderer, Daniel just heads toward NYC where Ani will await the witness stand.  Mayhem, of course, ensues, people die, and Daniel and Ani just keep running and endangering more people.  Well, when they're not having or thinking about sex, anyway.

Good bones, right?  Unfortunately that's about all there is for actual writing; the remaining three hundred pages is all sappy romantic dreams, cheesy sex scenes, or even cheesier (hey, we're working on a Velveeta commercial here) make-up scenes.  The one pitfall to Ani and Daniel's relationship comes when she discovers he's kept a fairly important secret from her, but since it was part of her witness protection contract, she doesn't hold a grudge for very long.  All in all, the plot is left in the dust of Ani and Daniel's not-too-creative sex life.  

Ani, Daniel, and all of the secondary characters are pale shadows of real people with actual problems despite the fact that the ordeal Ani's been through should make her one truly interesting person to read.  The book is simple and clichéd, and I won't even call it a quick read because I never did get involved enough for any kind of escapism.  Sorry, folks, but a book that makes you aware of every page you turn is not worth the time.

--Sarrah Knight

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