by Annie Solomon

October 2003
ISBN: 0-446-61229-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Angelina Mercer, is a woman living down to everyone's expectations of her. Ever since a horrifing experience in high school, she has been on a mission to show that everyone in her little town of Ruby, Texas was about her. She's been through four husbands. All much older and richer than she. Angelina makes them happy and they make her feel safe. Because they don't look beyond the party girl image she presents to the world. There is only one thing that Angelina wants more than anything else and that is to know who her birth mother is.

Finn Carver is a Federal Agent in search of a thief. This thief has stolen something that could destroy the world if it ends up in the wrong hands. He needs Angelina to help him He has the one thing that will make Angelina walk into a viper's nest of terror and deceit for him. He has the name of her mother. Finn is willing to coldly use her and discard her when the time comes. As long as the mission is completed, he doesn't care what happens to her.

Angelina is a lonely and vunerable woman dressed up as a party girl. Finn used to be married to a woman like that and it almost cost him his life. As time starts running short and the stakes get higher, Finn finds that Angelina isn't the girl he thought she was. She's tough and willing to do anything to bring the thief to justice. The more time she spends with Finn, the more Angelina becomes aware of Finn's deeper emotions. Emotions that he hides because he doesn't want to be hurt again. Together, as danger begins to stalk them at every turn, Angelina and Finn find themselves growing closer. What's even more dangerous to them then the madman they hunt is their growing love for each other and their crumbling defenses against being hurt.

The story is fast paced once Angelina gets to Montana. At every turn, she proves herself to be a strong character, even though her facade is one of selfishness. Her character grows as she begins to accept herself in all her different facets. The wild-child and the woman come to terms with each other. The maturity of her decisions make for a developing story that interests the reader without gettting too introspective. Finn fights his growing love for Angelina at every step. But again we are treated to a character who learns that the mission isn't always the most important thing. That love and trust help make the world a warmer and friendlier place. Angelina and Finn make for a great couple with sparks and gentleness.

Dead Ringer has a compelling mystery, thrilling suspense and a heartwarming love story. It's well worth the time it takes to read it.

Reviewed in October 2003 by Jenni.

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