Monday, November 24, 2008

Holding Her Own

Book Title: Holding Her Own
Author: Marie-Nicole Ryan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 1-60504-068-1
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Nymph Rating: 5 Nymphs
Literary Nymph Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

FBI Special Agent in Charge Caitlin Chaney is smart, sexy and dedicated…and she’s an accountant. She’s struggled for years to get out from under the shadow of her famous political father, who just happens to be the Secretary of the Interior. She believes in doing things strictly by the book so when she’s assigned Lead Agent in an important casino money-laundering case, she’s determined to do a job which will prove she’s earned her rank. When she finds out her undercover mission partner is Agent Jake LeFevre, who’s known for operating by his instincts…his gut feelings, and not by the rules, she wants to scream in frustration. She’s certain of one thing…Jake is a screw-up who could ruin not only her mission, but her career.

Jake is used to running an undercover mission his way, and when he meets his new by-the-book partner, Caitlin, who also happens to be in charge…well, he’s none too happy. He wants an experienced partner he can depend on, not an accountant with limited field experience and he isn’t counting one night of posing as a diplomat’s wife. Then when he discovers they will be acting as a newly married couple in a casino, he can’t believe his bad luck. Working with a beautiful, sexy woman who annoys and irritates him, and stuck in a gambling establishment when he’s had a gambling addiction in the past, is not what he wants to do. It’s not long after getting to New Orleans Jake discovers that the casino CFO is a woman he knew as a teenager, and he gets an unexpected complication that could change his life forever.

The first thing I’m going to say is that I loved Holding Her Own, Ms. Ryan’s sixth release. It’s a sexy and entertaining romantic suspense, and the sparks fly between Caitlin and Jake from the moment they are introduced, and not in a sexual way. These two are like oil and water…polar opposites in backgrounds, methods, attitudes, expectations and reputations. When they’re assigned an undercover mission posing as newlyweds, the two are nearly at each others throats. It was fun watching Jake and Caitlin grow slowly closer as they work to find a killer and expose the culprits behind a money-laundering operation. Ms. Ryan did a wonderful job in expressing the fears, desires and hurts of our characters, both personally and professionally. Caitlin’s disappointment in her father and Jake’s pain at the death of his adopted dad was particularly well done, showing them as real people with normal, every day problems.

There’s really nothing about this well-written story that I didn’t like. The writing is excellent, the plot believable and fast-paced, and the primary characters sexy, likable, and dedicated. The secondary characters…well, they fall into several categories: dedicated fellow agents, quirky casino workers, voodoo practitioners, dangerous and malevolent villains, and a high-functioning autistic child. Add all these together and you have a unique and well-constructed plot that keeps you guessing from beginning to end. This book is well worth the read, and an excellent example of the genre that I wish other authors would strive to emulate.


Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Whew! Blushes all around. Thank you for the time and consdieration you gave my story. Obviously I'm thrilled with your review.

Pam said...

What can I say. I loved it!