Death Angel (Ballantine) is out this month. Drea Rousseau has worked hard to become the woman she is today, but that woman is mostly a fake. She's the current girlfriend of Rafael Salinas, a bad boy to end all bad boys, a man who dabbles in drug dealing and murder, but she knows that won't last forever. But today, Rafael gives her to an assassin who demands her for a few hours. And Drea's world comes tumbling down around her when she realizes this man knows her better than anyone else, maybe even herself. She knows it's time to go now, and her unexpected emotional outburst helps her to convince Rafael of her despair. Her despair is real, but the reason behind it is not what he thinks, so when she disappears, along with a lot of his money, he first thinks someone grabbed her. Then, when he realizes what she's done, he dispatches the assassin to take care of her. Simon doesn't really want to kill Drea, but he manages to track her down, spooking her and causing her to wreck her car. He knows she's beyond saving, but he waits until the rescue workers are coming before he can bring himself to leave her. And Simon hangs up his guns. But then, when he wants to take care of her arrangements, he discovers a miracle has occurred. And he doesn't want Rafael to know. This one starts off with Howard's trademark scorching heat between Drea and Simon, and then the suspense kicks in. Drea and Simon play a cat and mouse game through much of this one, but there's never any doubt they're going to wind up together. And once Simon finally catches her, Drea knows she's got to face her past, once and for all. I know other authors have done the assassin-as-hero story, but frankly, I think Howard is the best at it. I only wish she'd write more than one book a year; some of us just aren't that patient. I'm giving this one four of Cupid's five arrows and now starting the wait till next summer for her next book. It's going to be a long wait.
Until next time, happy reading!