HEARTBREAKER by Karen Robards


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 Lynn Nelson takes her teenage daughter on a wilderness vacation and winds up saving America from nuclear destruction. Veteran romancer Robards (Hunter's Moon, 1995, etc.) puts another thirtysomething couple through the adventure-and-sexual-tension wringer before they get to have hot, mutually fulfilling sex on a ledge in a pitch-black deserted mine- -he with a bullet wound in his shoulder and she dressed in a battered Wonderbra and with no cigarettes (cold turkeying off nicotine, it seems, has become the newest ritual in tough-guy romance plots). To get closer to her rebellious daughter, Lynn, a single mother and Chicago anchorwoman, helps chaperon 19 teenage girls on a trip into Utah's Uinta National Forest, led by Owen Feldman and his brother Jess, ``a tall, handsome, tawny-maned stranger in skintight jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat, whom she'd caught eyeing her legs before they even said hello.'' After suffering saddle sores, insect bites, and mother-daughter trauma, Lynn falls off a crumbling ledge, along with her daughter, Rory Elizabeth, and is saved by that utterly cool, competent, insolent cowboy. The three begin the trudge back to civilization, a difficult but not impossible hike. But then they discover a compound of cabins with a crucified man displayed out front and a field full of bodies nearby. Jess, it turns out, is a ex-ATF agent who was at Waco, and he has nightmares because he couldn't save all the innocent women and children. He, Lynn, and Rory use all their survival skills to escape the white-robed bad guys, members of a religious cult called the Healers, and then to detonate 12 computer-controlled bombs before the cult can initiate Armageddon. Robards, whose white knights wear jeans instead of armor, knows the sexy grownup romance that's expected of her and always acquits herself well. It's a time-tested product, and she's a skilled producer. (Main selection of the Literary Guild)

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31038-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996


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