by Karen Robards

Jefferson Parrish PD Sgt. Caroline Wallace was not happy. As a hostage negotiator, she had been sent to the crime site to disarm the hostage taker’s bomb. Now she finds herself taken hostage as well. It made her both embarrassed and infuriated.

To make matters worse, the perpetrator is none other than Reed Ware, a highly regarded fellow police officer. This is the same Reed Ware who she tried to seduce when she was 17 and he was 10 years her senior, already working for the New Orleans Police Department. What possibly could have prompted him to take a mansion full of the town's movers and shakers hostage on Christmas Eve at the annual party given by billionaire Allen Winfield?

Caroline will have to wait for the answer to that and many other questions because, before she knows it, she finds herself handcuffed, her mouth duct taped, being transported down the bayou to heaven-knows-where. She is not really afraid of her captor because she is still attracted to him, and she knows through her own “spidey” intuition that he feels the same toward her. However, that does not keep her from being furious.

"[Robards's] characters are engaging and likable, the suspense builds and carries the plot, and the resolutions are both expected and satisfying."

Those of us who love mysteries, police procedurals and plain old cop stories may be put off by the hero-as-lawbreaker concept that is at the center of HUNTED. Yet, as the story moves along and the motives are revealed, Reed emerges as the man of character we hope all of our heroes will be. Of course, the fact that he is a gorgeous hunk of Cajun heritage does not hurt his image at all.

Caroline begins to learn what is behind Reed's uncharacteristic behavior as the two of them escape from the crime scene with a teenage would-be detective in tow. Holly Bayard suspects that his mother, both an addict and a prostitute, was killed by the police. And when he witnesses a similar crime, he is convinced. Unfortunately, the police involved realize that they have been seen and set out to silence Holly. So both Holly and his 13-year-old brother, Ant, become targets. Reed feels obligated to get to the bottom of Holly's allegations, but when he initiates an investigation, he is fired by Police Superintendent Martin Wallace, who just happens to be Caroline's father. The plot, as they say, thickens. As the chase begins to heat up, so does the tension between Caroline and Reed.

Though he knows he must stay focused, Reed has difficulty avoiding the distraction that being so close to Caroline keeps presenting. This, after all, is what we've been waiting for. Actually, it’s what we wait for in every romance we read! We know what is going to happen, we just don't know when. The talent of the writer keeps us on edge as she continues to reveal her secrets.

Karen Robards is the author of more than 25 bestsellers and one of the brightest stars of her genre. Fans always look forward to her latest offering, and few are ever disappointed. Her characters are engaging and likable, the suspense builds and carries the plot, and the resolutions are both expected and satisfying.

Reviewed by Maggie Harding on December 20, 2013

by Karen Robards