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Up Close and Dangerous: A Novel Hardcover – Jul 17 2007

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 17 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345486528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345486523
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,960,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About 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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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 empir...

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of Linda Howard,always will be.But this book is second one that hits me as been slightly rushed.It begins well anough but Cam's complete 360 in regards to his feeling towards Bailey leave me feeling like there should be something more.I can see feeling more charatible towards someone in a life or death situation but come on he's cracked on the head and suffering from lost of blood and he thinks she's all that. I know most guy's think of sex all the time but this was a little to far fetched me.The stepson's attitude reversal was another big problem for me as well as well.I'll continue to bye her books but I think I'll wait till the paperback version comes out from now on.
A good example of Linda howard at her best is Cry no more,one of the best books I've ever read.That book will make you cry and cry some more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second disappointing Linda Howard book I've read in the last few months and I'm hoping that it isn't a pattern. I keep getting the feeling that she's trying to force the chemistry or she's following some sort of checklist to make sure she's gotten all of the elements covered. Cam's sudden change of opinion of Bailey was unbelievable as well as their kindling romance. Basically I just made myself finish this book because I've been a Linda Howard fan for a long time and did not want to give up hope that the book would end up being as good as some of her older novels, sadly that just wasn't the case.
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Format: Hardcover
Bailey's strong characteristics is a big plus. She's smart and I feel she has a stronger presence even than Cam. I feel almost the entire book was a great thriller. Until the suspence is finally revealed. It just left me feeling disappointed at the whole book that I'd been enjoying so much. The main villain is not only unlikely, it's too sneaky, and I just can't seem to agree with it. It's as though the conclusion was too rushed without warning, or Howard was running out of ideas. Sorry, I love Howard's book and always defend them, but this book just didn't do it for me.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes a reviewer points out that a book follows a formula, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. This book, unfortunately, follows at least two formulas -- and it's quite a bad thing.

The romance: young Bailey is the widow of a wealthy older man who left her in charge of his adult son's and daughter's trust funds. They hate her, she's walled off her emotions, enter handsome sexy pilot, Cam ...

The survival thriller: Cam pilots the charter flight taking Bailey on vacation, and they crash in the remote mountains of Idaho. He's injured and she saves his life. They realize that the crash was caused by outside interference. Will their resourcefulness and stamina overcome the rigors of weather and altitude and enable them to survive?

Oh wait, segue to Formula Romance: sharing body warmth under a pile of clothing in a makeshift shelter, him concussed and her infected from a puncture wound ... sparks fly.

Neither theme is developed convincingly. The hot relationship between Bailey and Cam feels circumstantial; the Uber-Girl-Scout performance of Bailey is never explained; and by the time we find out what REALLY happened to the plane, we don't care and it seems as if the author doesn't either.

With much more attention to character development and the other elements that make a book worth reading, this COULD have been a decent book. An opportunity missed.

Linda Bulger, 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa5967cd8) out of 5 stars 183 reviews
55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38ae234) out of 5 stars Wait for the paperback July 22 2007
By Elaine C McTyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with another reviewer that this book is not worth the price. It is not a bad book but it is not a good book either. It reads like a how to book if you crash in the mountains in an airplane and survive. The attention to detail overshadows the short story.

Bailey Wingate was a trophy wife, now a widow. At least that is how it looks to others. The truth is a well kept secret. Her step-children who are older than her actually hate her guts. She enjoys the conveniences that are available to her and not the least is a flying limo service.

Cameron Justice is half owner of the limo-plane service. He doesn't usually fly Bailey anywhere, his partner does. Cam considers her exactly what she seems to be, a gold digger.

When she wants to fly off on vacation, Cam must step in because Bret, his partner, has an allergic reaction and becomes ill. Half way to their destination the plane goes down, and only Cam's ability as a pilot saves their lives.

I was disappointed in the romance and how hurt and cold people manage to have mediocre intimacy is beyond me. If you find yourself in this position hope you have this book with you. It is very detailed on how to survive. But as a romance, suspense thriller, or whatever it is far below my standards and the abilities of Linda Howard. Wait for the paperback if you must read it.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa389027c) out of 5 stars 3.5 stars...better than the last LH book July 25 2007
By cmiller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Branded as a gold-digging tramp, Bailey Wingate is used to being ostracized by people that don't even know her. Cam Justice is no exception. It was bad luck that put Cam in the pilot's seat of the plane that would take her to Denver. So excited to get away on vacation, even Cam can't dampen Bailey's mood.

Cam Justice prefers not to have contact with Bailey Wingate. Pegging her as an Ice Queen, Cam has turned all of Bailey's flights over to his partner, Bret. Only Bret being violently ill could ever make Cam fly Bailey anywhere. That's exactly what happens and Cam finds himself enclosed in a small jet with the Ice Queen herself.

When their plane goes down, Cam realizes that his very survival depends on the woman he despises. Cam soon comes to see that there is more to Bailey Wingate that meets the eye. When they both find that the plane was deliberately brought down, Bailey knows exactly who wants her dead. Both her and Cam are determined to get back to Seattle to prove it.

Up Close and Dangerous is not Linda Howard at her best. While this was an entertaining book, it wasn't what I've come to expect from a Howard novel. I enjoyed the story of Cam and Bailey and how they had to set aside personal feelings so they could stay alive. Howard did a really good job of showing how fast things can change when your survival depends on another person.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3b9700c) out of 5 stars Not worth the Hardcover price........................... July 18 2007
By S. Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While this book is not as bad as Linda's last hardcover effort, "Cover of Night," it really is not worth the hardcover price. Case in point.......it wasn't that good. However, I'm stating this based on previous stories like, Kill and Tell, After the Night and Dying to Please. But, quite honestly, she hasn't written a story like that in a long time. So, if we compare it to her last few hardcover efforts, "Cover of Night," and "Kiss Me While I Sleep" to name a few, it was a vast improvement. Go figure.

Actually, "Up Close & Dangerous" was not that bad. It was just missing some of Linda's original flair. Quite simply, it was missing that "secret ingredient" that makes Linda's stories, Linda's. For me, the novel was a pretty slow read. I've had it for a few days and kept putting it down. I had a hard time getting into it, and only finished it so I can start on some other stories. It was kind of boring and I found myself skimming through much of the book.

The main characters, Cam and Bailey are involved in a plane crash. Cam was flying Bailey to Denver where she was vacationing with relatives. However, the plane had been sabotaged, crashing into the mountains. It was only Cam's extreme piloting skills that allowed them both to survive the crash.

In typical Linda fashion, the romance was fast and hard. They were together 24 hours a day for several days, about six, I think. Their romance went from 0 to 60, literally.

I guess I can kind of understand them falling for each other, especially considering the extreme circumstances they had been subjected to. But, before the crash, they barely tolerated each other. After the crash, they were professing their love for each other and contemplating marriage in the span of sayyyyy.........4 to 5 days. Still, this would not have bothered me if we could have seen their love building. Unfortunately, we didn't. Most of the book they were into survival mode. Then, they were in love. There was no build up. And their sex scenes were just as bad, seeming almost clinical, as there was little to no passion involved. I found myself more interested in what her stepson and stepdaughter were involved in, rather than the main characters themselves.

For me, the book was "torturous" to read. It's obvious Linda did a lot of research on small planes and wilderness survival, for she described them both (small planes and wilderness survival) page after page in painstaking detail. So much so, that I now feel that if I survive a small plane crash, I too can survive in the wilderness. It was overkill. And, it was boring.

I only recommend this book to "die hard" Linda Howard fans, (like I used to be,) and then only in paperpack format. Trust me, you won't feel as cheated.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5b5a0b4) out of 5 stars Up Close and Dangerous May 12 2008
By Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bailey Wingate had no idea what she was in for when she married her boss James. There was plenty of respect between them when she was his personal assistant, but never love. She entered into this marriage knowing it would be her responsibility to oversee his children Seth and tamsen's trust funds. James had everything planned perfectly before he died, and Bailey took her responsibility very seriously. She was also well provided for, but that didn't take the place of a husband and family. She was still close to her brother, and had planned a two-week trip to meet him along with his wife in Colorado to go white water rafting. Since she was a Wingate, she had access to their private plane, and was excited by the prospect of some peace and quiet with her family. Her pilot for this trip was supposed to be the normal Wingate pilot Brett Larson, but he was feeling ill, so Cameron Justice was taking his place. Bailey was dreading the time she would have to spend with Justice because he made no secret that he disliked her. Just another person that thought she had married for money and had taken advantage of an ill man.

When they had been into their flight for a couple of hours, the plane started experiencing problems. Bailey was alarmed right away, but Justice seemed to have done something to correct it, so she calmed. All of a sudden he was having control problems, and told her to take precautions because they were going down. When Bailey came to, she was groggy, but remembered enough to know she needed to get herself and Justice out of the plane. He appeared to be unhurt anywhere with the exception of the gash in his head. Bailey struggled to get to the first aid kit, and when examining the cut, was horrified to see it would need stitches. She pulled out the instructions took a deep breath, and proceeded to put stitches in his head then made sure there was no additional bleeding. Justice was coming around, but barely, and with so much blood loss, it was up to her to find them shelter for the night. When Cameron finally was feeling better, he realized that the ice princess was nothing but a marshmallow protecting herself from the outside world. He remembered everything she had said to him, and how compassionate and caring she was. He might have saved her life getting them down, but she had in turn saved his by taking care of him after. Cameron and Bailey relied on each other heavily causing them to get close, and that got them thru the next couple of days. When Cameron realized that no one was coming for them, he searched the wreckage only to discover the plane had been tampered with, so he knew they would have to hike out, and rescue themselves to find the person with murder on the mind.

This was a very intense detailed story. The crash and subsequent survival had you on the edge of your seat. Then throw in the connection and attraction between Bailey and Cameron, which was believable and hot. The letdown was the ending. Here you are sitting on this emotional roller coaster with both characters, and then boom, the story abruptly ends. Everything is wrapped up in a few pages.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa36a39b4) out of 5 stars No magic formula Dec 31 2007
By Linda Bulger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes a reviewer points out that a book follows a formula, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. This book, unfortunately, follows at least two formulas -- and it's quite a bad thing.

The romance: young Bailey is the widow of a wealthy older man who left her in charge of his adult son's and daughter's trust funds. They hate her, she's walled off her emotions, enter handsome sexy pilot, Cam ...

The survival thriller: Cam pilots the charter flight taking Bailey on vacation, and they crash in the remote mountains of Idaho. He's injured and she saves his life. They realize that the crash was caused by outside interference. Will their resourcefulness and stamina overcome the rigors of weather and altitude and enable them to survive?

Oh wait, segue to Formula Romance: sharing body warmth under a pile of clothing in a makeshift shelter, him concussed and her infected from a puncture wound ... sparks fly.

Neither theme is developed convincingly. The hot relationship between Bailey and Cam feels circumstantial; the Uber-Girl-Scout performance of Bailey is never explained; and by the time we find out what REALLY happened to the plane, we don't care and it seems as if the author doesn't either.

With much more attention to character development and the other elements that make a book worth reading, this COULD have been a decent book. An opportunity missed.


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