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In A Heartbeat    by Rita Herron order for
In A Heartbeat
by Rita Herron
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Lisa Langley was almost a victim of a serial killer. The Grave Digger buried his victims alive in custom-made coffins, after beating and raping them. Lisa however did not die. After being buried in the ground, she was rescued by Brad Booker, a man with secrets. As dark and mysterious as they come, Brad chose to help fight crime, despite his murky past. His life crosses paths with Lisa Langley's because of the serial killer who has struck fear in the South.

The book opens with Lisa's horrific experiences at the hands of a man she considered her boyfriend, and then moves forward four years. Lisa has assumed a new identity and is teaching at a daycare center in a remote town. She still has nightmares about her harrowing experience with the Grave Digger, as he became known to the media. Thankfully, her new life is quiet, with neither friends nor neighbors, until a man moves into the vacant home nearby and tries to befriend her.

At the same time, Brad Booker has been alerted to a copycat serial killer, possibly associated with the Grave Digger. The original killer has died, or so everyone thinks. Is there a copycat, or is the current killer the same man who nearly took Lisa's life? Brad seeks out Lisa, hoping she can unlock the killer's identity, and save the life of the latest victim, a woman Brad used to date. Lisa is willing to help. She has feelings for Brad, but believes that his only interest in her is professional.

Though the romance between Lisa and Brad felt very awkward at first, it improved as it started to heat up. I didn't quite buy Brad's character, which was not totally convincing. I did enjoy Lisa Langley, finding it interesting to get into her mind and almost feel the fear she had, four years after her trauma. The mystery behind the murders is what will keep readers intrigued with In A Heartbeat. Though a number of characters could have easily fit the Grave Digger's MO, I only figured it out at the very end.

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