by Maggie Shayne

Septemeber 1999
ISBN: 0-373-07522-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #522
Mass Market Paperback

I've always loved books that leave me with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. And that's what Reckless Angel by Maggie Shayne did.

Nick Manelli is an undercover FBI agent who has infiltrated mob boss, Lou Taranto's organization. Antonia del Rio (Toni Rio to her fans) is writing a book based on that same organization. In the past Toni's books, thinly disguised as fiction, have exposed criminals and set them up for arrest. To get that information, she's had to put herself into some pretty tight situations but none of them have prepared her for the one she finds herself in with Nick.

Nick doesn't know why Toni was in the alley while one of Lou's hitmen took a traitor out, but he knew that if he didn't do something fast she'd be the next target. So, he did the only thing he could do - he kidnapped her. Neither knows the other's true identity and they fight the attraction they feel for each other.

These two are thoroughly enjoyable. Toni is a gutsy Latin beauty who thinks of herself as anything but; she gives her alter ego Katrina all the credit never realizing that she is Katrina and that all the guts and savvy are hers. She's not sure what to make of Nick and his contradictory behavior. Could she really be falling for a murderous criminal?

Nick has troubles of his own. With a cover and a hotheaded woman to keep under wraps, his assignment is spinning out of control. Even worse his prisoner is starting to have her suspicions about him. But she too is hiding things and until he finds out what those things are, he can't risk telling her his secret.

Nick is a big, lovable man, determined not to let anyone too close to him. In his world, people don't stick around when you need them. Nick, like Toni, doesn't want to fall in love and he fights it just as hard as she does. But love has a way of sneaking around your defenses, as these two find out.

I love the way this book flows. Everything fits so well together. There are no unnecessary characters, no weird subplots from left field, no jarring moments. Ms. Shayne did manage to throw in a few twists and turns, just enough so the story and the characters weren't too predictable. When I closed this book I wasn't left wishing there had been more, I was left content with the way things progressed and the way the book ended.

I'd not only recommend this book to Maggie Shayne fans but to any reader looking for a good solid romance.

Reviewed in October 2001 by JaToya.

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