By Jenn Engstrom
Jul 26, 2003 - 8:12:00 PM

***image2***In Rochelle Alers’ Renegade, Summer Montgomery has a life’s mission: to bust drug dealers and protect others from the same fate of her late young brother. She’s doing penance as undercover DEA agent Renegade, just as she has been since her only sibling was gunned down in cold blood. Guilt and fear run her life, and she can’t stop feeling as though her own life will end in a similar hail of bullets.

This latest mission tests her resolve. Although she uses her real name, her new “employers” at Weir Memorial High School have been told she’s a drama teacher hired through an art grant. Summer is loving her work, and deep in her heart, singing, dancing, and performing is truly what she longs to do. So it’s no wonder that she’s drawn to the kindred spirit she shares with Gabriel Cole – a celebrity musician and composer.

The handsome band teacher is private and sometimes moody, but when she’s with him, Summer feels like a woman; he reminds her of all the needs she’s been denied in her quest to chase the demons of her past. She has too many secrets, and too many responsibilities to give in to the strong passions Gabriel arouses. But despite her determination, his overwhelming heat and the eternity of his touch tempts her beyond reason.

Gabriel is attracted to the feisty and mysterious Summer from the very start, so much so that he invites her to his secluded home to spend the weekend in the very first weeks of the school year. She’s gorgeous – he can’t keep his hands off her – but he knows there is more than meets the eye behind her beautiful facade. Besides, he’s not ready to get into a serious relationship with anyone, even if he can see his children in her eyes.

A high stakes bet pits the two against each other, but if love is a gamble, everybody wins. Amidst the spirited and warm Cole clan, and surrounded by the spirit of love, Summer and Gabriel will find what they didn’t know they searched for.

This was a heartwarming read for me. Rochelle Alers does something I can’t get enough of: She creates believable and likable secondary characters. In Renegade, like a fine craftsman, she carves each of the Cole family members, showing them as real people in their own right, rather than mere scenery in the love story. The result is a tale with depth and character, where we get a chance to see the other people in Gabriel and Summer’s lives that make them who they are.

The last in a Ms. Alers’ saga of the Cole clan that began with Hideaway, Renegade left me happy to have met the Coles, and equally happy to be a part of my own family – that’s not something I’ve found in every book out there. In addition to the warm fuzzies, this book delivers on sexual tension that boils over into delicious heat, talk about a great combination. Get your own copy of RENEGADE today, and share the joy!

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