Closer… by Jo Leigh

closerTitle: Closer…

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2006

The heroine: Designer Christie Pratchett

The hero: Ex-Delta Force soldier Boon Ferguson

The blurb: A stalker has destroyed Christie Pratchett’s life. He’s stolen her job, her friends and her freedom. The police can’t help her, nor can the FBI. Now with a single call for help, it’s all up to ex-Delta Force member Boone Ferguson

Boone lives under the radar … with a secret that could cost him his life. But he’s going to train Christie to become a warrior princess – and his lover. Together, they’re going to risk it all… on the street and in the bedroom.

Standalone or series: Book one of the In Too Deep series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I have mixed feelings about this one. Christie has been terrorized for five months and she’s lost pretty much everything – her job, her friends, her freedom. She’s terrified of her own shadow, and the stalker has friends in high places – he’s had the IRS freeze her bank accounts so she can’t even flee the house she loves. All she has left is her dog, Milo, after the death of her older brother, Nate, seventeen months previously.

He gave her a phone number and told her to call it if she was ever in trouble, so in desperation she rings… only to get a pizzeria. Soon afterwards, Boone turns up. He was in Delta Force with Nate, and once he realises Christie is being stalked, he agrees to help save her life as Nate once saved his.

So he starts to train her to defend herself and teaches her how to shoot a gun, all the while ignoring his attraction to her. Theirs was a bit of a strange romance, I found. Christie ran a bit hot and cold – one minute she just had to have sex with Boone or she was going to die, the next she was mad at him for some perceived slight. She knew something had happened on a mission that Nate, Boone and co did in the Balkans, and Boone reluctantly admits they were all working for some shadow company that sat outside the government, and therefore the law, but with their approval. The team was told to take down a scientist, but when they got there they discovered they’d been lied to and refused to do the job. Now, they’re all on the run and off the grid – they’ve changed their names, their appearances, and only pay in cash.

Christie saw Nate get blown up in a car bomb, so she wants to know what happened in this mission and why her brother had to die. Boone is reluctant to tell her, not wanting to drag her into their mess on top of the stalker she’s dealing with, but eventually he relents. SPOILER ALERT – Nate is not dead! He rocks up towards the end of the book, having been in hiding like the rest of them, because they’re all targets and someone is after him in particular. The stalker is caught when he tries to kill Boone and Christie and dies when Nate shoots him, and Christie is forced to leave her life behind and go on the run like the others because now she knows too much and is a target.

At the end of the book, she’s living in Montana under an assumed name and working as a waitress. One day, a man shows up on her doorstep… and you know who it is. Boone has finally tracked her down and decides that if they both have to live on the run, they may as well do it together.