A number of years ago I used to read Iris Johansen religiously, as I did a few other authors such as Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, and Linda Howard. Those were my four go-to authors. Then I discovered new horizons – hundreds of other authors to see what they had to offer. Thus, my reading of my fave four diminished a bit over the years. Suffice it to say, I’ve not read many books by Ms. Johansen over the last several years. To my detriment, of course. I’m way behind in the Eve Duncan series. I didn’t know about the Kendra Michaels series until just recently. But as I have lately with Nora and Sandra, I’m determined to pick up more of Iris’ books as they hit the shelves in coming years. As I did with No Easy Prey. And it was like coming home. An exciting and suspenseful read with characters you hate to leave behind when it’s all over.
Margaret Douglas has been on the run for several years, off the grid of the man who held her captive and gives her nightmares to this day. He uses mental and physical torture to keep his captives under his thumb, and Margaret is especially valuable to him because of her gift to communicate with animals. She’s currently working at the San Diego Zoo, trying to coax a tigress into mothering the cub she’s rejected. That’s when she learns a man named John Lassiter is looking for her. Knowing when it’s time to run to keep not only herself safe, but also those she befriends during her journeys, Margaret packs up to move on.
However, Margaret has finally met her match. John, who is with the CIA, has been only one step behind Margaret for a while now, and this time he catches his prey. He’s been after Stan Nicos to find and rescue John’s mentor, Sean Patrick. Margaret is the one he needs to take him straight to Nicos. She, of course, has other ideas about that when John finally catches up to her. I love the dialogue between two strong characters, and Iris Johansen is one of the best to give readers just that. John promises Margaret he’ll keep her safe, won’t let Nicos have her, but Margaret has the idea that the only way to rid herself of the madman is to confront him, pretend to give him what he wants, and then strike.
When she’s back in Nicos’ hands, you can’t turn the pages fast enough to see what’s going to happen – because you know that plans never go the way they’re supposed to. Another way in which Ms. Johansen is a master, the suspense just keeps coming. The added element of communicating with animals is wonderfully done, especially when Margaret encounters a heartbroken dog who lost his human. But every animal contact Margaret has in the book is special and intriguing. I really enjoyed the slow chemistry build between John and Margaret. Just when you think they’ll never come together, it all changes with heat and sizzle. Nicos is the perfect villain, so confident and nasty you know you’re going to enjoy his end when it comes.
I’m so very glad I decided to read this book. Another way I’m back to my roots, so to speak, with Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts, and Sandra Brown. Now I have to get Linda Howard back on that list. Four terrific authors who have grown so much over the years and never let readers down and who I still enjoy to no end to this day.
Margaret Douglas has worked hard to put her painful past behind her. Raised off the grid in an abusive home, her only escape was the nearby forest where she sought refuge whenever she could. There, in the peaceful woods, she discovered a strange gift: the ability to understand animals and to communicate with them. And so those creatures became her only friends, her only joy during a desolate childhood. Now Margaret wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, close to the animals and under the radar. But her abilities have not gone unnoticed and there are those who would use them for their own purposes. Determined not to be a pawn in anyone’s game, every time someone gets too close, Margaret uproots her life and outruns them.
When John Lassiter breaks into Margaret’s apartment, she vanishes again, but Lassiter has good reason to be persistent. As a CIA operative, he owes his life to his men , one of whom is being held captive by an unrelenting enemy—an enemy who has set his sights on Margaret. Which means that Lassiter must control her to use her as bait.
With danger in hot pursuit, Margaret finds herself matching wits with a man who refuses to stop or be stopped. Turning from the hunted to the hunter, Margaret must use everything she has ever learned to not only survive, but to defeat a great evil. And to prove once and for all that she’s no easy target.
Read an excerpt.