Sunday, June 25, 2006

72 Hours by Shannon Stacey

3 books, 3 different genres. Shannon Stacey is proving herself to be quite a versatile author. This is a fast paced, tightly written action-adventure romance that moves forward from page one and keeps moving until the last word.

The blurb, courtesy of The Devlin Group: A privately-owned rogue agency unhindered by red tape and jurisdiction.

Grace Nolan walked away from the Devlin Group carrying Alex Rossi’s child in her womb and his bullet in her shoulder. But a ghost from the past has kidnapped her son, Danny. The ransom—Alex Rossi. To get her son back, Grace will have to step back into the life she’d left behind and reveal her secret to Alex.

With vengeance for his mother’s murder nearly at hand and a deadly substance on the loose, the last thing Alex Rossi needs is to find himself at the business end of Grace’s gun. Now the clock is ticking as they race to save a child and stop a madman bent on destruction.

But Alex has a secret of his own, and it may be the ultimate betrayal.
I truly enjoyed this one. Stacey managed to create a sense of history and closeness between not only Grace and Alex, but also between the supporting characters Carmen and Gallagher (am I the only one who was waiting for him to smash a watermelon?) in what turned out to be a much shorter book than her previous two works.

When we first meet Grace, she appears to be out of her element, burning chocolate chip cookies (who hasn't done that?), trying to be supermom. We immediately see the range of emotion, as she learns her son has been kidnapped, then she effortlessly puts down the bad guy sent to give her the message. Don't mess with this chick.

Off she goes to find Alex, where she would get the better of him, too, if only he hadn't followed her instructions to get dressed. She gets a bit distracted when he loosens his jammies. Oops. Now Alex has the upper hand. This is just the first of many terrific interactions between the two.

There is the clichéd 'you had my baby and didn't tell me', but as I've mentioned many times before, formula is what got us all hooked on romance in the first place. As long as it's well done - I'm good with it. And this one is well done. Grace had her reasons, and they were good ones. I was just amazed that Alex never questioned the timing and the paternity of her child. If there was one flaw with this book, that was it. Alex seemed too smart to buy into Grace's story that easily.

This book has it all - action, romance, humor (a must-have for me!), secret agents (oo-la-la!), a fun, well supported story, and excellent characters. Shannon Stacey's writing seems to get better, more complete, with each book she writes. This has the makings of a terrific series. I can't wait to read what's in store for this team next.

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