Melanie Prescott is earning some extra cash walking dogs when a strange man hands her an envelope containing the message, "Play or die." Soon Melanie is caught in a real-life version of a computer role-playing game, trying to stay a step ahead of Lynx, her assigned assassin. Her protector for the game is Stryker, an ex-marine determined not to lose another round. Together they must decode the clues that will lead them to the end of the game before Lynx can find them.

Kenner's book succeeds as both a romantic chick lit and a thriller. The story is clever, the plotting tight and the action well-paced. And there's plenty of time for Melanie and Stryker to fall in love, adding urgency to their desire to beat Lynx to the end of the game.

Kenner does a bang-up job with her characters, especially Melanie, who is understandably confused by everything happening to her. Readers looking for a romance with an unusual twist will find this book a winner. (Jun., 368 pp., $12.00)
Reviewed by: 
Donna Carter