Beauty & the Badge

Bride of Trouville

Down to the Wire
From Mission to Marriage

The Highland Wife

In Harm's Way

The Knight's Bride

Live-In Lover

Marrying Mischief

My Lady's Choice

The Quest

The Scot

The Viscount

The Wilder Wedding

Kiss or Kill  
by Lyn Stone
(SRS #1488, PG, $4.99) ISBN 0-373-27558-8
This novel is certainly a reminder that the world is probably overpopulated with covert organizations, even those with achieving basic good regardless of the method.

Several years ago, Renee LeBlanc, a special agent for COMPASS, attended a training op in the States where she met fellow student Mark Alexander; Mark, unknown to her, was there under the aegis of Corbett Lazlo, of the famed Lazlo organization.

That organization has now become a target of an unknown terrorist cell, and ostensibly Mark is giving lip service to investigating that problem. He is, however, on a mission of his own. As a young child he was present when an intruder killed his secret agent father. In hiding at his father's command, Mark did not see the actual killing but saw the face of the man who had committed the crime. Later identified as John Trip, Mark committed his life to finding and killing Trip. This was made easier as Lazlo, a friend of his father, had more or less adopted Mark after the killing, and is currently employing him.

Renee comes from a family of explosive experts. Her father's business was demolition and he was a worldwide acknowledge expert. She acquired her explosive expertise from her father, and used that skill to embed herself into a terrorist cell led by someone using the name Deborah Martine. This cell harbored Sonny Sonnegut who was wanted in the states for the attempt kidnapping of a senator's son. Renee’s goal is to take Sonnegut down.

Mark had traced Trip to this terrorist cell and is making inroads into infiltrating that cell when he and Renee come face to face at a cell meeting. Deborah assigned Renee the job of babysitting Mark, and her evil cohort Sonny assigned Mark the job of babysitting Renee.

The cell's stated purpose is to blow up a building in Paris. The building is in reality owned by Lazlo so Mark at least makes the connection. Deborah wants the building imploded which has required the use of special expertise in the placement etc of the explosives. She sends Mark and Renee off to Renee's apartment to finalize the plans.

Renee and Mark don't know whether or not they can trust each other, so the ensuing attraction and romance is overlaid with the central issue of exactly who the other person really is, and the danger it places each in.

Readers of the Silhouette Romantic Suspense series will be familiar with both the Compass and Lazlo agencies so their work techniques and goals provide little new to that reader. Stone is creative in the fashioning of her characters, but the plot line is well worn and very predictable.

Which leaves the chemistry between Renee and Mark and his protracted anguish over his father's death and his deliberate isolation from most human contact as areas the author has to explore and to make the story interesting.

Not memorably done, it makes Kiss or Kill an average read.

--Thea Davis

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