cover image Rogue Christmas Operation

Rogue Christmas Operation

Juno Rushdan. Harlequin Intrigue, $5.75 mass market (256p) ISBN 978-1-335-48921-0

Rushdan (Tracing a Kidnapper) launches her Fugitive Heroes: Topaz Unit series with this tense but formulaic romantic suspense novel set during the holidays. Photojournalist Hope Fischer is determined to learn the truth behind her sister Faith’s alleged suicide, convinced that she did not kill herself. To get answers, Hope devises a plan to gain access to the insular town of Benediction, Va., where her sister worked at Nexcellogen Industries’ research facility as a scientist. But on her way into town, she hits an icy patch of road and swerves into a lake. She’s saved from drowning by former CIA operative Gage Graham, who invites her to stay at his home. It’s a risky proposition: Gage is hiding out from his former employers, having gone AWOL after he and his team were set up and the CIA sent a kill team to dispose of them. While investigating, Hope unwittingly alerts the CIA to Gage’s location, forcing the pair to go on the run. The forced proximity of their flight inevitably leads to romance. Though the suspense keeps the pages turning, the romance becomes predictable after declarations of love that come too early. Readers will enjoy the action but will be let down by the flimsy romance. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Oct.)