HE WAS THE MAN SHE COULDN'T HAVE . . .
On a humanitarian mission to fly doctors to a remote village in Mexico, pilot Lisa Merrick discovers something sinister lurking behind the organization in charge. Her plane is sabotaged, leaving her trapped in the Mexican wilderness with a price on her head and no way out. Injured and desperate, she manages to contact the one man she knows will help her: Dave DeMarco, a tough but compassionate Texas cop she was once wildly in love with, a man who left her with nothing but a whispered promise that now provides her only hope.
. . . SHE WAS THE WOMAN HE COULDN'T FORGET
Dave DeMarco is stunned when a woman from his past phones him late one night with an incredible story of smuggling, sabotage, and attempted murder. Just hearing Lisa Merrick's voice brings back memories Dave doesn't want to face, but a promise he once made leaves him no choice but to help her. Soon, though, his mission to rescue Lisa becomes a struggle for survival against an enemy who wants them both dead. When the danger they face clashes with the passion that still burns between them, Dave vows to protect the woman he never stopped loving-and keep her in his life forever. . .
By the end of this smart, deliciously satisfying tale, the third in Graves's DeMarco brothers series (Wild at Heart, etc.), readers will wish they were part of the loud, loving DeMarco clan. The family's easy camaraderie and natural protectiveness add charm to this story, which focuses on single father Dave. When Dave learns that former bad girl Lisa Merrick died in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission in Mexico, he's staggered. But as it turns out, Lisa is still alive, which Dave learns when she phones him to cash in on an old promise. Dave drops everything and travels to the wilds of Mexico to rescue her, only to be drawn into a web of counterfeit drug smuggling spun by a corrupt doctor who's bent on silencing Lisa. Coincidentally, while Dave and Lisa struggle to flee Mexico and forge a relationship (which is complicated by the guilt Dave suffers over his wife's death), Lisa's widower friend Adam is forced to cope with memories of his own wife in order to begin anew with someone else. Graves manipulates the reader too often with the ostensible deaths of major characters, but there's no question that she knows how to create suspense; she's the master of the cliffhanger chapter ending. What sets this novel apart from its peers, however, is not the suspense but the characters and their witty, warm-hearted interactions. (Nov.) Forecast: An eyesore of a cover-featuring a cartoonish blue and orange image of a couple racing away from danger-speaks to teens rather than romance fans, the book's primary readership. However, this book should benefit from word of mouth. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 03, 2003
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Excerpt from Flirting with Disaster by Jane Graves
"You think I won't do it?" the man shouted. "Is that what you think? Well, you can damn well think again!"
Dave DeMarco bowed his head and let out a breath of frustration. This was not going well.
Five minutes ago, he'd pulled his patrol car onto Highway 4, heading back to the station after a particularly demanding shift, when the guy caught his attention. He was maybe fifty years old, sitting there in his immaculate suit, polished shoes, silk tie, and sixty-dollar haircut, just sitting there, as if he had nothing better to do than watch the world go by. And Dave might not have thought a thing about it, except for the fact that the place he'd chosen to sit was on a highway overpass, his legs dangling over rush hour traffic.
Dave had radioed the situation, asked for backup, then pulled his patrol car onto the overpass. He couldn't say for sure whether the guy was serious or not, but most of the time if potential jumpers chose a public venue they were just attention seekers, hoping for somebody to give a shit long enough to tell them not to take a dive. With luck, this guy was one of those.
Right now Dave stood ten feet from where the guy sat on the retaining wall, easing as close as he dared. He ticked off the procedures in his mind: Get his name. Establish rapport. Keep him talking.
He inched forward.
"Don't come any closer!" the guy shouted.
Dave held his ground, glancing down to the highway below, not surprised in the least to see that several cars had pulled over to the side of the road to watch the festivities. And already they'd been joined by a Channel Seven news van. Wonderful. An audience. This was going to be a regular dog and pony show.
"Hey, I'm warning you!" the guy shouted. "Back off, or I'm going over!"
Not likely. If he really did have a death wish, the coroner would be zipping the body bag right about now. But Dave still had to play by the numbers.
"What's your name?" Dave asked.
"Now, something tells me that's not really your name. Try again for me, will you?"
Dave forced himself to remain calm. Patrol cops were taught to be patient problem solvers, and he'd always been damned good at his job. But right now, for some reason, he felt edgy and irritated, wishing the guy had chosen any overpass but this one on which to make his point. Maybe it had just been a very long day. Most days in recent memory had seemed like very long days.
Finally the guy's belligerent expression faded, and Dave saw a tiny window of communication creak open. "Frank," he said. "My name's Frank."
"Are you armed, Frank? Gun? Knife?"
"No. Of course not."
"Okay. Tell you what. It's a little dangerous on that wall where you're sitting, and I'm thinking maybe you ought to get off it. What do you think?"
"I'm thinking maybe I ought to stay right where I am."
"Okay, then. Tell me why you're doing this. What's the problem?"
"Like you give a shit about my problems?"
Dave didn't want to deal with this. He just didn't. He saw a couple of patrol cars lining up behind his on the overpass, and if he could have handed this one off to anyone else he'd have done it in a heartbeat.
"Just get down from there," Dave said, "and we can talk about whatever's bugging you."
"Yeah, right. Talk. Just how stupid do you think I am?"
Dave glanced at the gold band on the guy's left hand. "Tell me about your wife."
"What's to tell?"
"Got any kids?"
"Yeah. So what?"