by Susan Johnson

March 2003
ISBN: 1-57566-807-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Brava
Mass Market Paperback

If you are a Susan Johnson fan, youíll recognize many of the characters in this story. It revolves around the fortunes of Jon Hazard Blackís illegitimate daughter, Jo. Unfortunately, their reunion is engineered by the mercenary and unpleasant Lucy, although Hazardís wife, Blaze, handles it with her customary aplomb. In other words, she doesnít shoot Lucy.

As is typical of Ms. Johnsonís stories, a passionate love affair develops between Jo and the hero of this novel, Flynn Ito. As a Gaelic-Samurai mix living in the west, Flynn is certainly an unusual character, but he does possess the requisite heroic traits Ė heís handsome, single, and amazingly capable in bed. Mention is made of his longevity in that area, and I for one wish that more detail had been paid to his unusual accomplishments. However, Jo is certainly satisfied.

Conflicts arise when Jo finds herself used as a pawn in the war between neighbors...and hard choices must be made. As a fan of many of Ms. Johnsonís stories, I have to confess that this one fell a little short of some of her earlier works. Her trademark aggressive sexual relationships were still present, and Flynn is every bit the arrogant hero who knows that only his endowments will satisfy his chosen woman. Jo is the quintessential educated and intelligent woman, standing up to Flynn and making her own identity quite clear.

While I appreciate feisty heroines and alpha males, I sometimes feel that Susan Johnsonís love scenes are peppered with a certain anger, a hostility that makes the characters threaten to leave, withhold sexual favors or otherwise punish their lover for some slight infraction. This story also contains that element. Perhaps its time for Ms. Johnson to move on to another set of characters, because while I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to her fans everywhere, Iím not sure that I would re-read this as often as some of her earlier, crisper stories where the sex is hot, the heroes hotter, and the plots as twisted and complex as a reader could desire.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Celia.

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