Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Brava (June 6, 2006)
Southern author Karen Kelley wows readers with her fabulous story of tough and independent female bounty hunter Cody Carlyle and the bane of her existence - as well as the object of her fantasies - sexy and intriguing fellow bounty hunter Josh Pierce.
Everytime Cody turns around, there's Josh, watching her, wanting her, and it's making her crazy. Josh is just another player, and she's not one to be any man's plaything, no matter how irresistible he is. But the attraction is too strong, and soon the two are sharing more than insults - they are sharing a bed and giving into the intense attraction between them. What was supposed to be a one-time deal turns into something more that neither one of them thinks they can handle, so they both decide to cool things down and stay away from each other.
Until a plum assignment has them joining forces to catch a newsworthy bail jumper. Crossing the border into Mexico, the two are hot on the trail of a felon until the locals decide to get involved, and what happens from there leads to unexpected results that join the two more closely than they ever thought possible, and show them the way to love.
Wow! I was completely drawn into the story from page one, and couldn't put it down until it was over. This book was such a quick read for me, and I truly hated to see it end. Cody is not your typical heroine, and Karen Kelley doesn't try to change her for her man, which I loved, but instead kept her rough edges intact. Cody may be tough, but then she's had it tough, yet she doesn't wallow in self-pity over the way her life turned out. Ms. Kelley could have created a heroine with a real bitch complex, but instead Cody is a woman who gets the job done and doesn't apologize for who she is or what she does for a living, yet there are glimpses of a softer, more feminine side that is just a part of the real Cody. Not once did I get the sense that Cody would become a dependent, overly emotional female once she fell in love, and I give Karen Kelley much credit for keeping the character true to herself. Cody was extremely likeable just as she was, flaws and all, and didn't need to rely on a man to make her happy.
Josh was more of a softy than he let on, mostly due to his overwhelming longing just to be with Cody. It was an attraction that he couldn't get out of his system, and he didn't quite know why nothing could make him forget this one particular woman, no matter how hard he tried. Once he realized his feelings though, Josh wasn't going to let his pride take over. He had his own dreams, his own agenda, but in the end he definitely came through by making a huge compromise to prove his love for his lady. It was definitely sigh-worthy, and politically correct or not, that's how I like my romances.
The love scenes were scorching, but emotionally charged right from the start, which made them that much more powerful. The connection between Cody and Josh was so real that I felt like I knew them and was cheering them on to their own happy ending. They truly belonged together. Kudos to Ms. Kelley for creating such a touching and captivating story. I strongly recommend it and all her other books. I know I will be reading any book she writes, including her anthology "Texas Bad Boys", a September 2006 release.