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Special Agent Cruz Romero takes center stage for this romantic suspense set in Washington D.C.  Romero is the ideal FBI Agent:  single, tall, dark, and handsome with a good measure of self assurance. His mettle is tested when he meets the suspect in a kidnapping, one Amanda Price, also of Washington D.C.  Amanda is beautiful and feisty, described by one character as a she-cat. The kidnap victim is Edward Price, resident of sunny California, Amanda's estranged father and CEO of the Price Corporation. The issues here are two-fold. Is Amanda guilty or innocent? Can Cruz manage to keep his distance from the beauty that makes his blood boil? Characters on the East coast are nicely drawn while those on the West coast feel almost transparent.

Although never shown the crime, the reader is expected to believe Amanda is able to commit such from a seemingly safe distance. Hammer keeps the reader turning pages with surprising twists a time or two. In an interesting stroke, the reader is shown only what Amanda and Cruz see and feel, until one is caught off guard by a sub-story midway through the novel. The sub-plot is barely linked to the main story yet draws a very different and intriguing romance with the hulking bartender and diminutive, abused young mother. Both stories are interesting and enjoyable enough to capture the reader. In the end the stories intertwine in a predictable but very satisfying way that leaves the reader cheering for the good guys.

Erin Murdock