Engaging Sam

Eye of the Beholder

Fugitive Hearts

Under the King's Command

A Wish and a Dream

Loving the Lone Wolf
by Ingrid Weaver
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1369, $4.99 PG) ISBN 0-373-27439-4
Loving the Lone Wolf is the second novel in Ingrid Weaver’s “Payback” series. Potential readers should know it takes some suspension of disbelief to embrace the highly improbable scenario about the mysterious Payback Organization.

Tony Monaco, heir apparent to a tremendous crime organization, founded Payback. For some reason, years ago Tony decided to go somewhat straight and use his powers in the pursuit of justice. He hand selected criminals, or individuals not yet caught, purchased new identities for them and funded enterprises which permitted these individuals to make honest livings. The Payback was a one-time call on the loan and was always a job to be done selected by Tony. If you failed to perform, he foreclosed you out of everything you owned, by legal or illegal means.

Nathan Rand, now Nathan Beliveau, ran a large courier business. He had retired from his chop shop business ten years ago and accepted Tony’s money to start his business. Highly successful, it is now payback time. Tony has targeted Stephan Volski, a Russian émigré drug lord and his empire for removal by Nathan.

Weaver has created warm likeable characters in Kelly Jennings and Nate. Four years earlier, Kelly left her small town home to fashion a singing career in Chicago. She met the suave Russian, was seduced by him and became pregnant before she realized what he was. After the birth of their son, Volski kept her at his beck and call with threats to remove her son from her and to harm her family.

Volski employed Kelly as a singer in one of his nightclubs, never letting her son leave his guarded estate. The price of her staying with her son was for her to serve as an occasional intermediary in his illegal deals.

Nate has contrived a plan to bring Volski down. Volski is importing two tons of heroin that needs to clear customs and transport to suppliers. Nate, pretending he is a relief driver for his courier company, is offering the transportation. Nate has involved the FBI in the takedown. Kelly acts as the go-between Nate and Volski. Volski ensures her participation by spiriting her son away to a place unknown.

In the midst of this, Kelly and Nate fall from lust to love, with the emotional scenes to prove it. The unraveling of this sting plot with so many players and so many strings is well done. The characters are believable and the dialog is crisp although at times sometimes poignant to the extreme. But as a caper novel Loving the Lone Wolf moves quickly and is entertaining.

--Thea Davis

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