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Cherry Adair, Jill Shalvis & Julie Elizabeth Leto: Dare Me

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Signet Eclipse (Paperback), ISBN 0-451-21437-

Book: Cherry Adair, Jill Shalvis & Julie Elizabeth Leto, Dare Me
Dare Me offers three action-packed novellas with a heavy dose of love and lust.

In Cherry Adair's contribution, "Playing for Keeps," flight attendant Danica Cross and a little boy miraculously survive a plane crash -- with only minor injuries, no less. But the doctors keep her drugged, and before she realizes it, she finds herself back on a plane to San Cristobal, South America. According to her companions, the president of San Cristobal wants to reward her for saving the life of his only son. But something just doesn't feel right.

Her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jon Raven feels the same way. After learning of the crash and her survival, he tracks her down and muscles his way in to see her. A coded phone call from someone in the U.S. government prompts the pair to break out of the presidential palace.

But the government wants them as well, because at some point, an enemy of the president implanted a microscopic bomb in Danica, turning her into an unwilling assassin. The plane crash plotline holds the reader's attention nicely, but the assassin chip (especially combined with sex at highly inappropriate times) just seems silly. Had this been a movie script, even Steven Segal would've turned it down.

DEA agent Will Malone refuses to give up tracking down the man who killed his sister in Jill Shalvis' "Nothing to Lose," and he wants to get it done before Mario weasels his way into the life of another innocent woman. Jade Barrett just broke up with her boyfriend Thomas after he started getting possessive. The morning after the breakup, she walks into her shop to find him screwing her bookkeeper. Jade leaves, in shock, then comes back to find the cash register looted, her checkbook cleaned out and the landlord padlocking her shop because of unpaid rent. But things merely get worse when someone starts shooting at her.

Will, waiting outside after spotting Mario (Thomas' real name), helps her escape and becomes the driving force of a day-long race to stay away from the men who want to kill Mario and Jade (because they believe Mario gave Jade a large number of jewels). Shalvis writes a much better tale that Adair's contribution to the book. More believable action and plot, as well as all of Jade's terror and utter shock at suddenly being hunted by killers, make for a quickly paced tale.

In "Dare to Desire" by Julie Elizabeth Leto, covert agent Macy Rush comes face to face with an ex-lover and co-worker, Dante Burke. He betrayed her years ago, breaking her heart in the process. Now working for competing agencies, he owns a house with a key to preventing nuclear war. He makes her a deal -- she can search the house for the code if she agrees to letting him seduce her. But he wants more than her body, and Macy struggles against the resurfacing feelings as he expertly woos her. Leto creates strong, complex characters and a not-too-outrageous plot to craft the best tale in the book.

Jen Foote

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