Burn by Linda Howard

 

SuspenseRomance

Burn BurnLinda Howard; Ballantine Books 2010WorldCatAfter a few years of living from paycheck to paycheck, working at a meat packing plant in Chicago, Jenner Redwine wins the big, multi-million lottery. Before claiming the prize, she goes to a financial consultant for help. She doesn’t want to be one of the many broke lottery winners. Although she hasn’t changed, people around her begin to, either resenting her when she doesn’t immediately quit her job or trying to take advantage of her. Finally she gives up on Chicago and moves to Palm Beach, Florida, to live with the wealthy.

Around seven years later Jenner is still there. She keeps busy with classes, shopping, and spending time with her friend, Syd. Although she attends all the same charity events as the others in the Palm Beach society, she never becomes one of them. If it weren’t for Syd, she might have wandered on. But the two women have forged a strong bond that sustains them both.

Syd talks Jenner into going on a charity cruise from San Diego to Hawaii. Jenner has never cruised before. This will be the maiden voyage of a new privately owned luxury cruise ship. They purchase one of the top level staterooms for the trip. But something happens on their way to the ship. Syd is kidnapped and taken to a hotel in San Diego.

Unknowing, Jenner boards the ship. Only after she is in their stateroom – different from the one they originally chose – does she learn about Syd’s kidnapping. She is told the only way to keep Syd safe is to cooperate and pretend a man named Cael Traylor becomes her immediate love interest for the cruise. Syd tries to tell the kidnappers that no one who knows her would believe that. Undaunted, the kidnappers proceed with their plan. Cael is very good in his role. If he weren’t her kidnapper, Jenner might get interested in him. But instead he keeps her handcuffed to a chair in the stateroom or a strong grip on her arm as they are “seen” around the ship. He doesn’t seem to want to hurt or take advantage of her, though. When they start spying on the owner of the ship, she gets more curious. What is going on?

Linda Howard has developed an interesting, if slightly unbelievable, antagonist in Burn. He’s an extremely wealthy con artist trying to set up one of the biggest cons of his life.

Jenner is a strong, smart woman. Howard has written a character that would be good to emulate if I would ever win a lottery like that (first I’d have to start buying tickets). Jenner is realistic; she knows immediately some of the people around her not to trust when she comes into a fortune. Yet it still hurts when some of her closer friends she thought she could trust turn on her.

Once Jenner figures out that both she and Syd are probably safe from harm, she starts trying to stand up for herself. But Cael is stronger and has a group of people with him who can watch her when he can’t. Whatever he is doing is shady and involves the ship’s owner. She has to figure out who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.

Burn is a quick read romantic suspense. At times Linda Howard glosses over some of the physical details of the surroundings, but the emotional and mysterious details keep the reader turning the pages. Enjoy Burn.

Notice:  Graphic violence, Strong sexual content

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