Sunday, May 18, 2008

SEDUCING THE MERCENARY by Loreth Anne White


A Silhouette Romantic Suspense from Nov. 2007, SEDUCING THE MERCENARY is less about Mata Hari than the title might suggest. The story begins in a war-ravaged African country of Ubasi. The new leader, Jean-Charles Laroque, is a ruthless militaristic dictator who wrested control from Xavier Souleyman, another despot.

Or is he? The CIA and the Pentagon want to know, so they have contracted the services of Force du Sable, a private military company based off the West Coast of Angola. They have sent in Emily Carlin, a profiler, to observe him and give her professional opinion on his character and stability.

She can’t complete her mission, though, because the U.S. Embassy has been evacuated after four American geologists have turned up dead- and the bodies were displayed in the same manner that Laroque’s father used to use as warnings. But there’s a hitch: these Americans were agents, and Laroque didn’t kill them. Someone is trying to force him into conflict with the U.S., and he suspects Souleyman is working behind the scenes to regain power.

Emily winds up getting stuck in Ubasi, and becomes the guest of Laroque in his palace. Her cover is in place, but he suspects there’s more to her than she’s saying. Emily is thankful for the chance to observe him up close, but has to find a way to report back to her superiors by a certain time, or they will assassinate Laroque. They know of Souleyman’s plans, and prefer to deal with the devil they know if it seems that Laroque will be as evil as his father was.

Complicating matters is the attraction that runs strong between the two. Emily is fighting her Achilles’ heel- she has a weakness for Alpha males, and Laroque definitely fits that bill. Trying to do her job while protecting her heart is no easy task. Laroque is conflicted as well; he has to deal with his superstitious people who point to a prophecy that says a woman will bring him down. His growing feelings for Emily may well cost him the trust of his countrymen. And he still knows he can’t fully trust her.

Loreth Anne White plots political conspiracy very well; her conflicts were entirely believable and compelling. I am a huge fan of spy stories. And as much as I love an escapist fantasy, I liked the realism- no James Bondish gadgets or Goldfinger villains here.

The inner arguments that Emily and Laroque have were well written; just enough angst to keep you guessing but not so much introspection that the action slows down. Their attraction is believable and may I say, HAWT.

Speaking of heat level, that would be highly sensual, and it totally fits the story. It’s a wonderful addition to the Silhouette line, and won the 2007 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Silhouette Romantic Suspense. Congrats Loreth, and great story!

5 comments:

Kimber An said...

Wow! This doesn't sound like a run-of-the-mill Romantic Suspense at all! Awesome review, Robyn.
:o)

Did you email the author? I'd bet she'd like to know how much we like her story here.

Robyn said...

Can do, Kimber. And no, it wasn't run-of-the-mill. I really enjoyed it.

Jill Sorenson said...

Thanks for reviewing an SRS, Robyn! I've heard great things about this author. Nice to know the book is HAWT, too. Sensual and suspenseful? My fave.

Toni Anderson said...

You should pick up her latest, HEART OF THE RENEGADE. Awful cover, fantastic story. Loreth is a really good writer.

I like your blog BTW :)

Kimber An said...

Thanks for stopping in, Toni. We'll check it out.
;)