Donít Close Your Eyes
by Sara Orwig
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1316, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27376-X
***
Donít Close Your Eyes is the fourth story in Sara Orwigís Stallion Pass: Texas Knight series, half of which have been published in the Silhouette Desire line. Therefore, readers may already be familiar with the main characters.

For those who do not know, four special service men entered a foreign country and rescued a wealthy Texan landowner. The grateful Texan repaid the favor by leaving his entire estate to the men. One of the four men had been killed in an explosion in a different rescue operation. His multi-million dollar estate was thus divided among the three remaining men: Mike, Jonah and Boone.

The story opens as Colin is breaking into Mikeís house. Confronted by the babysitter Isabella, he loses round one to her due to his squeamishness at hitting a woman. Colin is the fourth man, presumed killed. Unknown to all, he survived the explosion, sustained traumatic amnesia, had reconstructive surgery for burns, and spent some of the past five years in a foreign hospital. Colin has come covertly to warm Mike, Jonah and Boone that the double agent who sold them out is alive well and still out to get them now that the agent realizes Colin survived.

After Colin returned to the states his old agency enlisted him to help them find the identity of the double agent. Another attempt on Colinís life made them realize that not only is the traitor still alive and functioning but that he fears Colin could reveal his identity if his memory returns. Colin believes that he will just warn his friends and slip abroad to live his life in safety and seclusion.

Back to Isabella who disarmed him. Her martial arts expertise comes from her brother Boone. She is a renowned photographer who had moved to Stallion Pass where Boone, Mike and Jonah are living now, each having inherited a different ranch. Isabella is deeply committed to her career and has relegated all men and other pleasures to second place. Predictably, Colinís friends insist he stay to offer himself as bait so they can all capture the traitor and permit Colin to live in peace.

The three men have families and Colin refuses to endanger them by living with them. Isabella is living in Booneís guesthouse so that is where they put him. The agency sends undercover men to protect him as the threats and attempts on his life escalate.

The plot is very predictable, has been used often and has no new twists. Living in proximity with Isabella fuels their immediate passion for each other and the romance evolves in an all too predictable fashion as well. However, Orwig varies her pacing, keeps her dialogue crisp and carefully interweaves the escalating romantic and suspension tension to peak together.

Orwig livens up the predictability by the use of her carefully crafted principal characters. Her series has given her ample time to create multi-dimensional personalities and the interplay, as well as offering counterpoints to plot line, has a warm humanistic element that adds greatly to the enjoyment.

--Thea Davis


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