cover image Burn


Linda Howard. Ballantine, $26 (367pp) ISBN 978-0-345-48656-1

When Jenner Redwine wins the lottery, she finds herself alienated from everything she knew, and a misfit in the world of the ultra-wealthy. When she agrees to go on a charity cruise with her best friend Syd Hazlett, she thinks it'll be the perfect escape: two weeks of spa treatments and art auctions. Onboard the Silver Mist, however, Syd is kidnapped by a mysterious group, and her only shot at safety is going along with the plan of her mysterious captor Cael Traylor. Finding herself increasingly uncertain over who the bad guys really are-and what exactly is happening onboard-Jenner begins falling for her kidnapper. Veteran author Howard operates well within her comfort zone, charging this romantic thriller with light erotic flourishes, a sympathetic fish-out-of-water heroine and an archetypal hero-gruff, assertive and dangerously masculine-all of which fans will expect and appreciate. Though Howard goes out of her way early on to make Cael unthreatening, she maintains enough tension between captor and captive to make this an enjoyable but unexceptional caper.