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Book Cover Devon’s review of Kidnapped! by Jo Leigh
Contemporary romance published 1 Sep 07 by Harlequin Blaze

Tate Baxter is beautiful, young and the only daughter of one of the richest men in the U.S. However, her privileged existence brings her no joy. As the victim of two kidnapping attempts, fear, anxiety and her father’s overprotectiveness have made Tate a virtual prisoner in her Carnegie Hill penthouse. She is surrounded by a cadre of servants and aides, most of whom carry concealed weapons.

One of the bright spots of her day is chatting with Michael Caulfield, her chauffeur/bodyguard, who accompanies throughout her day. She’s even got a little crush, but is too afraid to make a move. Michael enjoys Tate’s company, and is attracted to her as well, but in addition to her panic disorder, the status difference seems an insurmountable goal.

But Tate is fed up with living in fear, and agrees to a fake “kidnapping”, suggested by her therapist, in order to help her overcome her phobias. When the “kidnapping” goes horribly awry, Michael is close at Tate’s heels. He swoops in for the rescue, only to find that he is more involved than he had thought. Trapped on a yacht to the Cayman Islands, Tate and Michael are free to explore their attraction, as well as help Tate discover a strength she never knew she had. Their future looks bright, if they can survive that is.

I am often persuaded to pick up Blazes. They have a more ‘contemporary’ feel than many harlequins, and catchy plot descriptions. However, in the effort to amp up the sex level, the reader is treated to absolutely ridiculous plot devices (love potions, sex-themed hotels). Kidnapped! was quite different.  On a certain level, it was quite a dark book. Tate had lived through two kidnapping attempts, one with particularly tragic consequences, and so lives like a recluse at 24. This ain’t no silly neurosis, it’s debilitating anxiety. It was interesting to watch her take control back, and to recognize her own strength.

Mike was a great hero: strong, intelligent and likable, and able to see Tate for who she was. I liked that their previous relationship was based on conversations in a limo, a meeting of the minds. Having them stuck together in a room provided a good setup for them to get to know each other even more. Their romance was sweet and sexy.

Kidnapped! was a real page turner. I read it very fast, wanting to see what happened with the kidnapping and with the relationship. I found the subplots interesting. Mike’s dysfunctional relationship with his brother Charlie was an interesting mirror to Tate’s relationship with her father. I wasn’t entirely convinced that Mike would be attracted to Tate at the beginning. Think she’s a great girl, yes, but she was such a timid mouse! But by the end, I believed in them. My big quibble was the ending, which was abrupt. Mike angsted and angsted over whether they could be together, then it’s just, “Okay. Swell. The End.”

Jo Leigh’s name often comes up as one of the best Blaze authors. I know I will definitely be reading her again. Kidnapped! packed a lot into its brief length–emotional depth, interesting characters, and a lot of action. I hope best friend Sara gets the next book, and I look forward to reading it.

Devon's ReviewGrade: B

Read excerpt here.