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The Business of Strangers    by Kylie Brant order for
Business of Strangers
by Kylie Brant
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

A young woman washes up on the beach of an isolated tropical island; once she regains her senses, she realizes with horror that she has no idea who she is. All she knows is that she has finely-tuned survival instincts and lethally ingrained skills in martial arts and weapons. She also sports the same one-of-a-kind tattoo as the assassins sent to kill her - which leaves her wondering about and fearful of the life she led before losing her memory.

Six years pass and the mystery woman who washed up on a secluded beach now calls herself Rianna Kingsley. She's been forced to change her name and identity often; assassins have always managed to find her and she knows it's only a matter of time before one of them finishes what was started half a decade before. Rianna still remembers nothing about her past. She is always on guard and cannot allow herself to cultivate friendships, much less a romantic relationship. But after a particularly grueling arrest, Sheriff Rianna Kingsley allows herself one night of anonymous pleasure with a man who harbors as many secrets as she does.

Jake Torrance has never allowed himself to feel any sort of emotion for a woman, but Rianna Kingsley changes all that. He wants to see her again, but when he discovers she's sheriff of the neighboring town, he thinks he's been set up. Within days, his carefully cultivated network of informants is compromised and Jake suspects Rianna has something to do with it. No one is more surprised however, when a stranger hires Jake to kill Rianna Kingsley. What dark secrets does she harbor, and why does Jake want to protect her at all costs?

Kylie Brant has a real knack for creating conflicted and multi-layered characters, with plots that are equally complicated. Jake is not your typical hero - he's involved in organized crime and makes no apologies for it. He also harbors a deep and unrelenting desire for revenge against a drug lord who destroyed someone he loved. Revealing any more would spoil this nifty and twisting plot, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Business of Strangers.

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