A well-made, completely predictable and unchallenging second hardcover from Lowell (Winter Fire, 1996)--a romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure, and squishy clichÃ¢s that fans of the genre could possibly want. Tough Jake Mallory (Jake being this year's romance-novel nom de choice for soldiers of fortune and macho men) passes himself off as a fishing guide in order to keep tabs on Honor Donovan, a jewelry designer who's searching for her lost brother Kyle in the San Juan Islands. (Honor needs a boat to find Kyle, and she doesn't know how to pilot a boat; in fact, she hates boats, and she hates fishing.) Kyle, it seems, has disappeared from Russia with a million dollars' worth of Baltic amber and, perhaps, a priceless panel from the famous Amber Room, which had been disassembled and taken from a czar's palace by the Nazis. Jake (""Been there . . . done that . . . got the T shirt"") is a former government agent who now manages his own international investment company. Like most heroes of his ilk, he comes complete with scars, black stubble, and the requisite ""clean fingernails"" (which is typical for the genre: only villains have problems with personal hygiene). Jake believes that Kyle and the Donovans, a colorful family, have framed him for the crime; Kyle's family believes that Jake has set Kyle up; and the CIA is trailing Jake and Honor to get its hands on the Amber Room, as are the Russian mafiya, a Lithuanian freedom fighter, ex-employees of the former KGB, and the Coast Guard. While he strives to clear his name, Jake teaches Honor how to drive a speedboat, catch salmon, and have good sex, which heretofore she'd always found pretty ""boring."" Some parts of his job are, obviously, more fun than others. Much livelier than Winter Fire, and perhaps the beginning of a series.