Up Close and Dangerous

Up Close and Dangerous

3.6 87
by Linda Howard, Natalie Ross
     
 

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A mysterious plane crash . . . a dangerous trek through the Idaho wilderness . . . a smoldering attraction . . . and a deadly game of cat and mouse. In her latest tour de force of romantic suspense, New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard blends these elements into a gripping story that will keep readers breathless -- and leave them begging for more. For

Overview

A mysterious plane crash . . . a dangerous trek through the Idaho wilderness . . . a smoldering attraction . . . and a deadly game of cat and mouse. In her latest tour de force of romantic suspense, New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard blends these elements into a gripping story that will keep readers breathless -- and leave them begging for more. For in Linda Howard’s world, trust can be a weapon, a kiss can be a threat, and intimacy can be deadly.

Bailey Wingate’s scheming adult stepchildren are surprised when their father’s will leaves Bailey in control of their fortune, and war ensues. A year later, while flying from Seattle to Denver in a small plane, Bailey nearly dies herself when the engine sputters -- and then fails.

Cam Justice, her sexy Texan pilot, manages to crash-land the aircraft. Stranded in the wilderness, and struggling to douse her feelings for the ruggedly handsome man by her side, Bailey begins to wonder whether this was a mere accident. Who tampered with their plane? Who’s trying to reunite Bailey and her husband in the afterlife? Cut off from the world, and with little hope of rescue, Bailey must trust her life -- and heart -- to Cam, as they battle the harsh elements to find a way out of the unforgiving wilds and back to civilization . . . where a killer may be waiting to finish the job.

Sexy, suspenseful, and lightning fast, Up Close and Dangerous showcases a beloved author at her dazzling best.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469273365
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

Bailey Wingate woke up crying. Again.

She hated when she did that, because she couldn’t see any reason for being such a wuss. If she were desperately unhappy, if she were lonely or grieving, crying in her sleep would make sense, but she wasn’t any of those things. At worst, she was pissed.

Even being pissed wasn’t a full-time attitude; that came only when she had to deal with her stepchildren, Seth and Tamzin, which, thank God, usually happened only once a month when she signed off on the allotted funds they received from their inheritance from her late husband. They almost always contacted her then, either before to make their pitches for more money, which she had yet to approve, or afterward to let her know, in their individual ways, what a scummy bitch they thought she was.

Seth was by far the most vicious, and more times than she cared to count he’d left her emotionally bruised, but at least he was forthright with his hostility. As tough as he was to take, Bailey preferred dealing with him to having to wade her way through Tamzin’s passive-aggressive crap.

Today was the day their monthly funds were released to their bank accounts, which meant she could look forward to either their phone calls or actual visits. Oh, joy. One of Tamzin’s favorite punishments was to visit, and bring her two young children. Tamzin alone was tough enough to take, but when her two whiny, spoiled, demanding children were added to the mix, Bailey felt like running for the hills.

“I should have asked for combat pay,” she grumbled aloud as she threw back the covers and got out of bed.

Then she mentally snorted at herself. She had nothing to complain about, much less cry in her sleep over. She’d agreed to marry James Wingate knowing what his children were like, and how they would react to their father’s financial arrangements for them. He had, in fact, banked on those reactions and planned accordingly. She had gone into the situation with her eyes open, so she had no grounds for complaining now. Even from the grave, Jim was paying her well to do her job.

Going into the plush bathroom, she glanced at her reflection—something that was difficult not to do when the first thing she faced was a floor-to-ceiling mirror. Sometimes, when she saw herself, she had a moment of almost complete disconnect between the person reflected and what she felt like inside.

Money had changed her—not inside so much as outside. She was slimmer, more toned, because now she had both the time and the money for a personal trainer who came to the house and put her through hell in the private exercise room. Her hair, before always a sort of dirty blond, was now so artfully streaked with different hues of blond that it looked completely natural. An expensive cut flattered her face, and fell into such graceful lines that even now, fresh out of bed, her hair looked pretty damn good.

She had always been neat, and she had dressed as well as she could on her salary, but there was a world of difference between “neat” and “polished.” She had never been beautiful, and certainly wouldn’t qualify for that level of good looks even now, but she did sometimes reach “pretty,” or even “striking.” Skillful application of the best cosmetics available made the green of her eyes more intense, more vibrant. Her clothes were tailored to fit her and only her, instead of millions of other women who were the same general size.

As Jim’s widow, she had the full and unquestioned use of this house in Seattle, one in Palm Beach, and another in Maine. She never had to fly on a commercial airline unless she wished to; the Wingate corporation leased private jets for its use, and a plane was always available to her. She paid only for her personal possessions, which meant she didn’t have to worry about bills. That was undeniably the biggest bright spot of the deal she’d made with the man who had married her and, in less than a year, made her a widow.

Bailey had been poor, and though amassing wealth had never been her life’s focus or ambition, she had to admit that having money made life much easier. She still had problems, the main ones being Seth and Tamzin, but problems felt different when they didn’t involve paying bills on time: the sense of urgency was gone.

All she had to do was oversee their trust funds—a duty she took very seriously even though they would never believe that—and otherwise fill her days.

God, she was bored.

Jim had thought of everything regarding his children, she thought as she stepped into the round, frosted-glass shower. He had safeguarded their inheritances; insofar as he was able he’d also ensured that they would always be financially secure, and very skillfully read their personalities while doing so. His plans, however, hadn’t included how her life would play out after he was gone.

He likely hadn’t cared, she thought ruefully. She’d been the means to an end, and even though he’d been fond of her and she of him, he’d never made any pretense of feeling anything more than that for her. Theirs had been a business arrangement, one he’d initiated and controlled. Even if he’d known beforehand, he wouldn’t have cared that his friends, who had dutifully invited her to their social events while Jim was still alive, had dropped her from their guest lists like a hot potato as soon as he was in the ground. Jim’s friends had mostly been in his age group, and a lot of them had known and been friends with Jim’s first wife, Lena. Some of them had also known Bailey from before, in her capacity as Jim’s personal assistant. They were uncomfortable with her in the role of his wife. Hell, she had been uncomfortable, so how could she blame them for feeling the same way?

This wasn’t the life she’d wanted for herself. Yes, the money was nice—very nice—but she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life doing nothing but growing money for two people who despised her. Jim had been certain that Seth’s humiliation at having his inheritance controlled by a stepmother who was three years his junior would shock him into stepping up to the plate and behaving like a responsible adult, instead of an older male version of Paris Hilton, but so far that hadn’t happened and Bailey no longer had any faith it ever would. Seth had had plenty of chances to apply himself, to take an interest in the corporations that funded his lavish and lazy lifestyle, but he hadn’t seized any of them. Seth had been Jim’s hope, because Tamzin was completely disinterested in and unsuited for the type of financial decisions huge amounts of money demanded. All Tamzin was interested in was the end result, which was cash at her disposal—and she wanted all of her inheritance now, so she could spend it as she wished.

Bailey winced at the thought; if Tamzin had control of her inheritance, she would blow through the money within five years, tops. If Bailey herself didn’t control the funds, someone else would have to.

The phone rang just as she turned off the shower and reached for a champagne-colored towel to wrap around herself. Wrapping another around her wet hair, she stepped out and picked up the cordless phone in the dressing room, looked at the Caller ID, and set the unit back down without answering. The number had been blocked; she had registered all her numbers on the national do-not-call list, so the blocked number wasn’t likely to be a telemarketer. That meant Seth was probably up bright and early thinking of insults he could use, and she refused to deal with him before she had her coffee. Her sense of duty extended only so far, and this was beyond those boundaries.

On the other hand, what if something was wrong? Seth partied hard, seldom getting to bed before dawn—at least not his own bed. It wasn’t like him to be calling this early. Feeling her boundaries stretch a little, she grabbed the phone again, punching the “talk” button even though the answering machine would have already picked up and started its spiel.

“Hello,” she said over the recorded message made with the canned male voice that was the system’s default. She had kept it instead of recording a message of her own because the canned one was more impersonal.

The answering system halted in midsentence when she picked up, then beeped, and clicked off.

“Hi, Mom.”

Sarcasm was heavy in Seth’s voice. Mentally she sighed. Nothing was wrong; Seth was just trying out a new way of annoying her. Being called “mom” by a man who was older than she didn’t bother her, but dealing with him at all certainly did.

The best way to handle Seth was to show no reaction at all; eventually he’d get tired of his needling and hang up. “Seth. How are you?” she responded in the cool, even tone she’d perfected while working as Jim’s PA. Neither her tone nor her expression had ever given anything away.

“Things couldn’t be better,” he responded with false cheer, “considering my money-hungry whore of a stepmother is living large on my money, while I can’t touch it at all. But what’s a little theft between relatives, right?”

Usually she let the insults roll off her back. “Whore” was one he’d pulled out the second he’d heard the provisions of his father’s will. Seth had gone on to accuse her of having married his father for his money, and taken advantage of Jim’s illness to persuade him to leave even his children’s money in her control. He had also promised, threatened, to contest the will in court, at which time Jim’s lawyer had sighed heavily and advised against such action as a waste of time and money; Jim had capably handled the reins of his empire up until the last few weeks before his death, and the will had been signed almost a year before that—the day after his marriage to Bailey, in fact.

Meet the Author

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, Dying to Please, Open Season, Mr. Perfect, All the Queen’s Men, Now You See Her, Kill and Tell, and Son of the Morning. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

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3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was the first time I had read Linda Howard, I've read Beverly Barton and thought I would give Linda a try. The story was fast pase and easy to read. The characters were likable and pulled you in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book! It is very enjoyable!
Pippink More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book from cover to cover. It took me no time to finish it because the story kept me intrigued. It's and excellent book for a one to two hour flight. Enjoy!
bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
CD/abridged: Romantic Suspense? No really. I did not like the first part of the book; too formula. After the plane crash and learning about pine needle tea, it warmed up to me. There struggle for survival was palatable and interesting. There was no real sense of danger, like the plane falling on them. However, the romance isn't going to be long-lasting (I'd give it two years, tops); they got together after being stranded on a mountain via a plane crash. I didn't get why the heroine didn't just give the money to her step-kids. And if her dead husband was such a good man, why did he have not one, but two shallow, money grubbing children. This book was abridged and read more like a Harlequin Romance. If I would have had it in paperback, I would have never finished it.
NancyChase More than 1 year ago
When I bought Up Close and Dangerous there were mixed reviews, but since I have enjoyed a number of Linda Howard's earlier novels, and I'm a big fan of Ms. Howard I purchased this book. Overall, I thought that Up Close and Dangerous was very entertaining. It may not be one of her best works and her creative mind just didn't thrill me as much as other books, still the story kept my interest, plus it was very educational. Cam is the pilot of a small plane and his passenger is Bailey. The planes crashes and now these two must learn survival skills if they are to get off the mountain alive. Romance blossoms between these characters. The story was a little slow toward the ending, but I read it over a three day period and I was thrilled with the book.
CharlieParks More than 1 year ago
I have read a majority of Linda Howard's books over the years and like many authors that create a number of works I have my favorites. Up Close and Dangerous would fall somewhere in the upper middle category. Maybe it was time spent on "how to survive the wilderness", and which gave less pages that were devoted to flushing out the characters and the romantic scenes. Overall, I still enjoyed the book.
PUKUS More than 1 year ago
Skilled flying kept their plane from crashing head-long into a mountain. The one part that was really fictional was two people living six days on a couple of candy bars and drinking a tiny bit of snow-melted water. I'm not too sure who didn't like each other would fall madly in love under any circumstances. It seems to me that survival would be much more important than love-making. Part of the book was believeable and part of it was not. This is my first Linda Howard novel, and I would give her another try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bailey Wingate was both married and widowed within one year and left in charge of a multi million-dollar trust fund for her two stepchildren who whose sole priority is to make her life miserable. In an attempt to escape the drama, Bailey embarks from Washington on a two-week river-rafting trip to Denver Colorado. She is paired with Cam Justice as her pilot to ferry her across the air. Cam had made it clear that he dislikes Bailey and she returns the sentiment. While crossing the mountains the plane experiences some serious problems and both Cam and Bailey crash on top of a snow covered mountain. Left with little options Bailey drags an injured Cam from the destroyed aircraft and aids to his serious head injury. Stuck on the top of a mountain with the realization of sabotage and no hope of rescue, Cam and Bailey work together to help themselves and along the way Bailey gives more of herself to Cam than she ever has to anyone else before. Set in snow, Linda Howard provides some hot and steamy scenes between the two leading characters and strings along a minor mystery. Up Close and Dangerous is a good read, the main characters are highly developed and intense and the minor characters are very interesting but do not play an important to the story. The book lacks a strong mystery and would be better classified as a romance. Valerie Jones
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of my favorite Linda Howard books I loved the plot and the the pace was just right I loved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Linda Howard, have read all of her books, but this is a very disappointing effort. It was very boxed, no imagination, no character development, no chemistry between the main characters-almost as if her staff put something together very quickly before a deadline and she just had to go with it. It was so boring that if I could take it back to the store for a refund I would.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED IT! Linda Howard always delivers!
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Greengirl86 More than 1 year ago
Good book overall. Not as good as Prey or Kiss Me While I Sleep. Nevertheless, I am huge Linda Howard because of writing. I like the "outdoor survival" education. Sort of concerned that the cut wasn't address quicker, but yet he makes. Ending was a surprise! Can't wait to read more from Howard!
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