It's exactly that heady combination of steely courage and sensitivity that first attracts Duncan Swift to Phoebe. After observing her coax one of his employees down from a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life. She's used to working solo, but Phoebe's discovering that no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm's length.
And when she's grabbed by a man who throws a hood over her head and brutally assaults her-in her own precinct house-Phoebe can't help but be deeply shaken. Then threatening messages show up on her doorstep, and she's not just alarmed but frustrated. How do you go face-to-face with an opponent who refuses to look you in the eye?
Now, with Duncan backing her up every step of the way, she must establish contact with the faceless tormentor who is determined to make her a hostage to fear . . . before she becomes the final showdown.
Comment: This is another of the several books by Nora Roberts I have had in my TBR. This one has been in there since the year it was released...7 years then. Sometimes I can't believe some books wait this long, but...I'm like the cautious ant, saving for rainy days. But there comes a time where I like to dive into the pile and just enjoy myself.
This story features Phoebe, a hostage negotiator. Phoebe has several issues to deal with in her daily life but she has a content life. The day she saves a man from jumping a building she is a hero in Duncan Swift's eyes and he can't forget her. But as her personal life seems to go on a surprisingly positive track, her professional one faces obstacles and challenges she didn't see coming. Who is the person behind all her troubles and why?
There are some very interesting elements in this book. There are also a few little things that are so predictable in a NR story that sometimes I wish she would do something radical or if not, to simply return to plain romance without the mystery in there too. Yes, I admit I miss those old Harlequin stories because I think this is an author who did them so well, so wonderfully for stories of that page count and following those lines. Yes, I really miss those and the romance trilogies where it wasn't so obvious how everyone is perfect all the time. Anyway...
The things I liked the most in this book are: Phoebe has an interesting job and although she is perfect in it, the whole research the author must have done to write about it isn't over the top or an information dump. I think it's minimalist enough to make us follow her actions but not be bored by explanations and situations arising from it.
Also interesting was Essie and her phobia. It's so easy to put things like on the story and solve them miraculously just to suit the romancelandia fervor. But I applaud the fact things were hard, things weren't likely to change soon but there was a vibe of hope in the air nevertheless. Still, I liked how things weren't done as easy as that and it was interesting to see how the small part of that family's life had to work out when one element has a phobia like Essie had. I imagine most people don't have such an easy system but it was quite the reference anyway.
Some things weren't as polished. The end, for instance, could have used a bit more details or explanations because I had the feeling some things were missing, namely what was happening to everyone after the big showdown. I know we infer a HEA but a bit more details about secondary characters would have been nice.
The romance between Phoebe and Duncan was a bit fast happening but it had its sweet and serious moments. I liked how they didn't just fit their places quietly, there are things to talk about, to wonder and for the most part we see them act on their stuff instead of just ignoring the subject. Phoebe is strong woman and I liked her. although sometimes I wish she could be a bit more mad, especially considering what happens during the book. Duncan is a wonder because of how he is portrayed. Together they are good but a bit more work in the relationship, in particular in the beginning would have helped too.
The villain was a surprise on all counts. I won't go into details but it was good to me that the villain wasn't someone close to Phoebe, someone part if her circle of friends. Those kind of plots suck sometimes, so well done with this book.
In the end, a solid story, not her best in my opinion, but still captivating and easy to follow and read.