by Karen Robards

June 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21549-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

Maddie Fitzgerald has a lot of great things happening in her life. Just recently, she bought the business she had been working for, and she won the St. Louis Young Woman Business Owner of the Year Award. Currently, she is working on landing a new client that could take her firm, Creative Partners, into the big leagues. The last thing she needs is to be attacked by a homicidal maniac the night before the big presentation. When someone breaks into her hotel room and almost shoots her in the head, what was once a great life is quickly turning into something else.

To make matters worse, the next day, just before Maddie's big presentation to Brehmer’s Pet Food, the FBI comes into her life. They want to talk to her about her escape from the killer the night before. However, Maddie has had dealings with the FBI in the past, and she isn’t about to give them any help, despite how sexy Officer Sam McCabe is. Sam isn’t about to take no for an answer though. He needs Maddie’s help to catch a serial killer who has been taunting him for weeks. The killer has been leaving clues for Sam and his team, but despite how quickly Sam and company unravel the clues, the killer stays one-step ahead, always killing his victims…except Maddie. The killer did murder a Maddie Fitzgerald; it was perhaps just not the right person, as there had been two Maddie Fitzgeralds staying at the hotel the other night. One died…and one escaped.

Now Sam needs Maddie’s help to catch a killer. He’s sure that the killer will go after Maddie again, if anything, just to tie up loose ends so to speak. Sam intends to use Maddie as bait, but what he doesn’t know is that she has an agenda of her own. She has a past that needs to stay hidden from the FBI, and she will do anything, risk anything, to make sure it does. As the case grows colder and as the threats against Maddie continue, the attraction between Sam and Maddie heats up. But when so much is hidden, can a real relationship ever be possible?

Bait is romantic suspense at its best! Karen Robards does a phenomenal job of interweaving a tense and suspenseful mystery while at the same time creating an equally emotional romance between Sam and Maddie. Though the ending will come as no surprise to the well-read mystery fan, it is the buildup to the ending that is the strength of this story. Added to the intense plot are a versatile and three-dimensional cast of characters including Sam’s partners Wynne and Gardner and perhaps the “star” of the book, Zelda, the junk food loving dog.

Bait is a masterful story that is the perfect treat on a warm summer day, a cold winter’s night, or any other day of the year. Sam and Maddie’s tale and their tenuous connections to each other that don’t seem that important at first create a gripping story. Grab a copy of this book ASAP!

Reviewed in June 2005 by Sarah.

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