Onyx, Dec 2001, 6.99, 352 pp.
In Output, Nevada's Golden Phoenix Casino and Hotel, Shelby Wyatt wins the $25,000 grand prize at the slots. Instead of collecting her money, she flees the casino for the hotel in a panic trying to avoid the attention. The owner, Aaron Montana, watches what she did on tape and wonders what would make someone so afraid to accept her winnings. He next watches her on live camera managing to defeat his security and get into a hotel room.
Aaron confronts Shelby, but does not stop her when she flees. He decides to track her down anyway and learns from the person standing next to her when she won the grand prize that she likes horses. He checks the nearby phone booth and finds she ripped out a page containing Outpost Flat Stables. Aaron goes there and persuades Shelby to hide in his hotel. He takes her to his secure apartment through a secret passage. Aaron wonders if Shelby killed Pruett, but she accuses him of wanting sex. Shelby begins to worry that the kind Aaron who she is beginning to love will die due to the murder she witnessed and her knowledge of who the killer is, but will she trust him with the truth?
Three-time RITA Award winner and a Reviewer Choice Award winner Justin Dare provides her vast audience with a powerful romantic suspense nobvel that never slows down from the moment Shelby plays the slots until the end. Though the male lead is too perfect (except for being an ultra hunk), the tale is non-stop action starring a feisty female whose loyalty to her “mom” happens to leave her in the right place at the wrong time. Readers will feel they won the jackpot with HIGH STAKES.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner