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Slow Hands    by Lauren Bach order for
Slow Hands
by Lauren Bach
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Alec Dempsey turned his back on Freedom, Arkansas years ago and when he did, he also walked away from the only woman he ever loved, Keira Morgan. After a stint in the military Alec is happy where he is working for the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). When two of his counterparts from the FBI arrange a meeting and ask him to return home and get the goods on ex-con, Ian Griggs, and the millions he has supposedly lifted in a bank heist and stashed somewhere in or around Freedom, Alec laughs in the agents' faces. He had vowed never to return to Freedom and he meant it. But when the agents discuss the very real threat Ian Griggs still poses to Keira Morgan - he blames her for the deaths of his brothers - Alec realises he has no choice but to return to Freedom to keep an eye on Griggs, and most especially, keep an eye on Keira. Whether he can keep his hands off the only woman he's ever loved is another matter altogether.

A high school reunion is the perfect venue for Alec's return. Keira is shocked to see him back among her old classmates and swears to steer clear of him. But it doesn't take long for the two former lovers to resume their fiery relationship even though Alec still feels he has nothing to offer her - and Keira knows in her heart Alec will probably walk out on her again. Add to the mix the return of a vengeful Ian Griggs, the hunt for stolen loot, legendary Confederate gold, and Keira's cranky moonshiner grandfather, and the plot has the makings of a real page turner.

Slow Hands is Ms. Bach's follow-up novel to last year's debut novel, Lone Rider, and is much better than her first. However she once again fails to pull this one to an altogether satisfactory conclusion because of stereotypical lead characters whose motivations are outdated and whose dialogue is peppered with clich9s. Alec Dempsey often comes across as too arrogant and Keira Morgan falls into his arms and his bed a bit too quickly. Readers who enjoy lots of steamy bedroom interludes will find Slow Hands just what the doctor ordered. Those looking for a bit more substance in their romantic adventure will find great writing, a nifty plot, nice secondaries, and good pacing - all the marks of a good book, but not a great one. Ms. Bach is certainly on the right track though and remains a talent to watch in the future.

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