STANDOFF by Sandra Brown
Warner Books, May 2000
Tiel McCoy means to take a vacation from her job as a TV reporter, really she does. But when she hears about a teen kidnapping, she can't help be interested. This could be the break that lands her the big host job she's been angling for. She heads toward where the teens are supposed to be heading but doesn't count on getting caught up in a convenience store holdup and hostage standoff.
In Sandra Brown's (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Brown) STANDOFF, nothing is exactly as it appears. The supposedly kidnapped girl acts more like a girlfriend than a victim. The handsome cowboy knows more about medicine than any country boy should, and the two Mexican nationals look a lot more likely to be holding up the convenience store than does the teen boy. Things go from bad to worse when the FBI is called in and the girl's baby decides that this is exactly the time to be born.
Brown drives a fast pace, mixing in adventure and sexual tension as Tiel had to decide where her reporter's instincts stop and where personal begins. The teens announce that they would rather die than give up one another and this suicide pact draws Tiel even more deeply into the conflict.
In many ways, STANDOFF reads like a superior Silhouette Intimate Moments--a romantic theme (between the cowboy, Doc and Tiel) is fully integrated into the suspense plot. Brown avoids beating the reader's head with the conflict or emotion. Coincidence plays a major role in the setup of the story but Brown manages to follow the one coincidence per book rule.
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