by Blair Wings

January 2002
ISBN: 1-59080-080-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Echelon Press
Mass Market Paperback

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Las Vegas! Neon lights, the Strip, slot machines and money - lots of money! But many forget that Las Vegas is also a thriving city, with schools, churches, supermarkets, and apartments, one of which is occupied by Ms. Sydney Rawlins, whose life is about to get turned upside down by a loud knock on her front door.

It's late at night when Sydney learns that her brother's apartment has been violently redecorated - all the furnishings have been trashed, and someone rather inconveniently left a dead body on the floor. The police think that 'someone' is Sydney's brother Stone, who is now missing! Stone is an investigator, and his partner, Nick, is the one who is at Sydney's side as these horrible events unravel. During the course of this frightening night, however, there is one man whose face remains in her mind - a man who flashed a badge at her and asked her some pretty pointed questions! It wasn't until later that Sydney learned this man wasn't with the police - in fact, no one knew who he was!

Thus begins an exciting adventure for Sydney Rawlins and readers of House of Cards! Congratulations must go to Blair Wing - she has set her story in and around Las Vegas, yet has resisted the urge to make the city a character in her story. This is a commendable achievement because the plot is strong enough without the addition of bright lights and baccarat! In fact, it doesn't take too long for the reader to be standing at Sydney's side, puzzling out the developments of this complex tale, watching her trying to keep her emotions under control, and above all fighting the immensely strong attachment she feels for this mysterious Graham Montgomery who is suddenly the only shield she has between herself and some faceless killers. Graham is a delightful character; he is intelligent, good at what he does and his determination to protect Sydney makes him a real "to-sigh-for" hero! He's also really bothered by his explosively physical reaction to her - it's outside the bounds of his usual sensual entanglements. Their kisses cause spontaneous combustion and their interaction is everything a good romance should be - sensual, steamy and passionate!!

Ms. Wing has created two very likeable characters - which is so important if the reader is going to get thoroughly immersed in their story! (I probably would have encouraged Sydney to stay on top of developments more; she needs to watch more movies and develop a less naive attitude towards people, but no big deal.) There are also several very un-likeable secondary characters to complete the scenario - I have to confess that I did peg the villain early on in the story (I do watch a lot of movies), but that wasn't a major issue, nor did it stop me from enjoying the rest of the book - I guess the nasty side of me would like to have seen him get a little extra punishment at the end, but that's a personal response. Still, a good kick in the masculinity might have been satisfying...

With a well thought-out plot, wonderful characters, and lots of exciting action, House of Cards is a definite must-read for any fan of romantic suspense. The good guys get each other, the bad guys get their just desserts, and the reader gets to spend a few hours lost in an exciting and romantic adventure with enough danger to get the heart pounding! What more can we ask?

Reviewed in January 2002 by Celia.

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