High-Stakes Passion

Author: Juliet Burns

Publisher: Silhouette Desire

Release Date: March 2005

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Audrey Tyson is ready for much bigger challenges than her job as a copy editor can offer.  She considers herself overweight and plain so not only is her professional life boring, Audrey doesn't have much of a social life either.  Since her boss won't offer anything more substantial than an advice column, Audrey decides to make her own break.  In exchange for a promotion she'll write an exclusive story about the reclusive Lone Cowboy, Mark Malone.  He hasn't been seen in months, since he was thrown from a bull at a rodeo.  Audrey, needing a way to get close to Mark, takes a temporary job as a housekeeper at his ranch.

Mark Malone has all but given up on his life.  Injured and unable to return to the rodeo circuit, Mark feels he is nothing without his Lone Cowboy persona.  What woman would be interested in him now that he isn't a hero anymore?  Mark used to go out of his way to help others but now he's just drinking his life away.  And his new housekeeper is a royal pain, trying toconvince Mark to shave, cut his hair and even stop drinking. Why won't she just leave him alone?


Audrey used to daydream about Mark in his Lone Cowboy days but now she's just plain disgusted with his self-pitying ways.  Bad leg or not, there's plenty Mark can do with his life if he would just push himself a little.  But even in his current state, Audrey can't help but fantasize about Mark.  Is it possible he could be attracted to a plain, boring woman like her?  How will he react if he discovers Audrey's deception?  After all, she's here under false pretenses in search of a story.


Mark hasn't been strong enough to pull himself out of the morass of despair and alcohol his life has become, but a poker game with Audrey changes things.  For some reason he's attracted to the little spitfire.  But now that he's just an ordinary man with a scarred leg, he's sure there can never be anything lasting between them.  Will Mark find a way to get his life back and give this thing with Audrey a chance?


I started reading this book at night, expecting to read a chapter or two before bedtime.  Well, bedtime came awfully late that night because I couldn't put the book down until I had read every last page!  Mark Malone is a classic tortured, flawed hero.  He's a secretive man and although he survived a painful childhood, he emerged into adulthood with plenty of baggage.  In many ways Audrey is lacking in self-esteem but she can be just the woman to give Mark the swift kick he needs.  I loved the depth of both Mark and Audrey, and the support of the secondary characters.  HIGH STAKES PASSION is thoroughly engrossing.  I highly recommend this book.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Alane

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