Maggie Kincaid, a former FBI negotiator working a sensitive kidnapping case, finds herself clashing with Jake O'Connor, a security expert also working the investigation, but as evidence of secrets and corruption emerge, he becomes her most trusted ally.
Maggie has a “once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent” as a hostage negotiator, but she turned her back on her FBI career after a tragic mistake led to the death of a teenage girl. Now her mentor is asking her to come back to work a case that involves another teen, the daughter of a senator who proves to be less than forthcoming in the investigation. Jake, a former Ranger who consults on special cases, is also helping out. At first Jake thinks Maggie is mishandling the negotiation, but he soon comes to admire just how strong and smart she is and how well she’s navigating the various players, most of whom have sexist chips on their shoulders. As Jake and Maggie dive further into the mystery, they realize the senator has a lot to hide, much of it illegal, and there are some powerful people who are far more concerned with keeping their secrets than with saving the girl. Maggie, who was abducted as a child, is infuriated by their interference and determined to save her, but when she doesn’t know whom she can trust, Jake becomes a valuable ally. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, their attraction is sizzling, and the danger is rising. Maggie and Jake weren’t looking for love, but now that they’ve found each other, they have to survive in order to consider a future together. Debut author Diamond writes a taut, compelling romantic thriller with believable villains, smart heroes, and a fresh plot that keeps readers engaged while keeping the door open for a sequel. Some details—particularly occasional D.C.–area geography and descriptions and the main sex scene, which seems out of character for laser-focused Maggie—miss the mark.
A solid, appealing debut.