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 clichÇs 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.