The Bride's Protector

Heart of the Night

His Secret Duchess

Honor's Bride

The Stranger She Knew

Her Baby, His Secret
by Gayle Wilson
(Harl. Intrigue #517, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-22517-2
The ghost of Griff Cabot has hovered over the first two books in Gayle Wilson's "Men of Mystery" series. He was the head of the CIA's top-secret "External Security" team who was killed before the first book began. The hero of book one got into trouble with the agency when he took out the man responsible for Griff's death. The hero of the second book got into trouble when he came to the aid of the hero of the first book. And Griff's lover, Claire Heywood, came to the aid of both the hero of book one and the hero of book two because they were Griff's men.

Obviously, Griff Cabot was one heck of a guy. Too bad he's dead! But, of course, he isn't. It turns out that he was simply injured very badly in the terrorist attack. Officials at the CIA decided that, with his cover blown and his leg crippled, Griff was more of a liability than an asset. So they gave him a new identity and turned him out to pasture. It was their perfect opportunity to disband the "External Security" team, whose role no longer fit with the government's view of the world.

Claire had mourned Griff all the more deeply because, before he was killed, they had broken up. She had objected philosophically to the actions his team performed in the pursuit of the nation's security. She is especially saddened by the fact that she had never told Griff that she was expecting their child.

Gardner Heywood is six months old when the story begins. She is the apple of her mother's eye. And she becomes the victim of a kidnapping. Claire is distraught, especially because the kidnappers make no demands. Griff, hearing of the tragedy, reemerges to come to the assistance of the woman he loves. He calls on his old team to help find Claire's baby, not realizing that it is his child as well.

It turns out that the kidnapping is directed not at Claire but at Griff. Gardner will be returned only if Griff and his team use their skills to assassinate a target, a known drug dealer.

Her Baby, His Secret thus combines an exciting tale of derring do with a tender tale of a second chance at love. Both Claire and Griff feel hurt and betrayed by the other's actions. Claire had told Griff never to contact her again; thus his acquiescence in the story of his false death. But if Griff had known about the baby. . . . For her part, Claire cannot believe that Griff allowed her to think that he was dead. Wilson expertly details both the barriers to happy ending and the love which will lead them to overcome these barriers.

The derring do is very well done. Gradually it becomes clear that someone with inside knowledge is involved in this plot. Could the CIA brass be behind this callous kidnapping in an effort to fully and finally destroy the "External Security" team? Who would be so ruthless as to put a child in danger?

I have enjoyed Wilson's "Men of Mystery" series very much and Her Baby, His Secret is a grand finale. Wilson effectively brings together the characters from the previous books. She provides a telling situation which leads Claire to reassess her previous views of the ways evil must be fought. And she brings Griff to life (literally!) in such a way as to make this larger than life character seem fully human.

You do not have to have read the previous books to enjoy Her Baby, His Secret, but this is such a good series and Wilson is such a talented writer of romantic suspense that I heartily recommend you search out The Bride's Protector and The Stranger She Knew. You won't be sorry.

--Jean Mason

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