I have never read Jeanie London but several people raved about this book on the AAR boards (and KarenS too I think) so I had to try it. London has written for Harlequin Blaze and ITC is JL's first effort at RS and a very good one.
What Claire de Beaupre knows could kill her . . . again.
Simon Brandauer, head of the elite U.S. intelligence agency Excelsior, blames himself for the capture and execution of his top team of agents during a covert mission in the Balkan Republic. Now, three years later, Simon is shocked to discover one agent survived.
Claire endured months of brutal torture and remembers nothing of her past. But Simon must risk her fragile memory to unravel the mystery. When an unknown assassin wants Claire dead before her memory returns, Simon realizes he's no longer safeguarding agency secrets, but protecting the woman he loves.
ITC is a compelling spy thriller/suspense that delves into the terrible torture and ethnic cleansing that went on during the Bosnian-Serbian war. London described the horrible atrocities and traumas that Claire suffered without going into graphic detail. Claire and Simon are realistically drawn characters, both very strong and intelligent but by no means perfect. Both of them were damaged in their own way; Claire from her months of torture and Simon from his survivors guilt and I felt pain for both of them. The plot grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let go, although at times the spy adventure aspect overshadowed the romance. The love scenes are steamy but as usual I found myself wanting more of them :)
We know right from the beginning who the bad guys are but the element of suspense along with Claire's struggles to regain her memory kept me on the edge of my seat. The action really kicked into high gear when Claire and Simon return to the former Yugoslavia to retrieve some critical information. The aliases for the operatives in the spy network were a bit corny and the plot was a tad convoluted near the middle, but I still enjoyed the book very much. ITC was hard to put down and if she keeps up this level of work I predict London will join my list of fav RS authors along with Stuart, Howard, and Castillo.
My grade: B+