When a small-town beauty queen becomes a target, a rugged federal agent sets out to investigate—only to find that there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Pageant winner Lacie Jo Baxter was born and bred to dazzle; with the perfect smile, the perfect figure, the perfect facade of heartland innocence. But deep inside are pent-up desires and a daring that’s never been tested—until an abductor nearly snatches her up. Improvising a weapon out of her twirling baton, Lacie fends off the attacker, then comes face-to-face with the kind of man they don’t make in Kansas anymore.
Chicago-born FBI agent Ben Camaglia has a taste for the good life, an eye for women, and a knack for combining the two. Exiled from the Windy City, Ben expects to crack this little kidnapping caper and return to the big leagues. Instead, he quickly discovers that beneath Lacie’s incredible looks is a cocktail of lies and secrets. Sparks fly when they’re together, but danger swirls around a woman who is so irresistible that someone will not let her go.
Shades of Miss Congeniality lend a rosy hue to this frisky romance, which will entertain those who enjoyed Lane's previous charmer, Romancing Riley. The story opens as Miss Kansas Summer Squash, Lacie Jo Baxter, is being kidnapped and tossed in the trunk of a car tiara, beaded gown and all. A successful beauty queen is nothing if not resourceful, so Lacie whacks her captor with her baton and gains her freedom. Fearing another attempt on Lacie's life, local authorities assign FBI agent Ben Camaglia, who's cooling his heels in Kansas after roughing up a senator's son, to keep an eye on her. Though the attraction between the two is immediate, it isn't until the kidnapper strikes again and a startling piece of Lacie's past comes to light that things really start to heat up. The author's use of comically protracted sentences ("If had to be nice to Ben, it didn't hurt that he was the hottest thing in these parts since the Lewis house burned to the ground and the volunteer fire department couldn't put out the blaze for two days because of the corn liquor that Marge and Buddy had tucked away in their root cellar") will make some readers feel as if they've just run a marathon, but in the end, they will be glad they did.