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Off Limits    by Michele Albert order for
Off Limits
by Michele Albert
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Newly arrived in New Orleans, Emma Frey is the new cop on the block. She's well aware she's being tested when her Captain teams her with bad boy detective Bobby Halloran. Still bitter over the way she was forced to leave her former job in California -- she turned in some fellow detectives on the take -- Emma is determined to set up a good working relationship with her new colleagues in the precinct house. She's also determined to ignore new partner Heartbreaker Halloran's killer good looks and deadly smile. And difficult as it might be, she intends to ignore the bets being placed by the other detectives on how long it will take Bobby to charm his way into her bed.

If there's one thing that Bobby Halloran doesn't need after seventeen years on the force, it's breaking in a new partner -- and a goody-two-shoes-Miss by-the-book-Ice-Queen no less. The fact that the guys in the squad room are placing bets on how long it'll take him to get Miss Emma horizontal isn't exactly making his day either. As soon as they hit the streets on their first case the Ice Queen looks down her pert West Coast nose at his unorthodox investigative methods. But a friend of Bobby's is in trouble and he has every intention of finding her before everything hits the fan, despite Emma's insistence that they follow the rules. Emma soon realises that under her partner's good old boy charm and handsome fašade lies a man with not only a heart of gold but also one aching to find understanding and love. Could she be the one woman in the world he's been looking for -- the one to turn his lonely life around?

In Off Limits, Michele Albert presents a well-written and nicely paced contemporary romance, that presents a much more serious and character rich tone than the light-hearted contemporary billing it's given. Albert's insightful character development of leads Emma and Bobby (each of them dealing with very real human issues) is well done and believable as is their shaky and often amusing path to love. There's also a nifty little mystery the partners investigate, that doesn't overshadow their growing attraction. Off Limits is an enjoyable story, that I recommend - and I look forward to Ms. Albert's next book.

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