Gabriella Starr likes the calm, placid life she has created for herself. It beats running all over the world with her crusader father Tony Scagliotti, risking life and limb for endangered orchids. Gabby had a falling out with her father and hasn't seen him in years. Neither has she seen her best friend Lizzie Fairfax, for Lizzie's wealth and devotion to "Scag" compels her to keep bailing him out of dangerous situations.

Gabby first senses something is wrong when she realizes that she is being followed. When she attempts to confront her stalker, she is stopped by ex-cop-turned-DA Cam Yeager. Cam is concerned about his former partner Pete Darrow. Pete has also quit the force and taken a security job for TJR Associates. Cam fears that Pete's quest for the better things in life may lead him dangerously astray.

Gabby is furious when she realizes that she is being tailed by security from her own employer. Titus and Joshua Ready are the owners of TJR Associates, and while Gabby works well with older brother Titus, she and Joshua clash. Cam suspects that Joshua, and by extension, Pete, may be involved in illegal gun transactions; but what is the connection with Gabby?

Gabby's life gets even more complicated when Scag and Lizzie hit town. Lizzie and Joshua's unexpected attraction turns into a whirlwind courtship that concerns Gabby, who finds herself attracted to Cam despite his annoying tendency to butt into her life.

Mix sex, money, power and guns, and things are bound to get a bit dangerous. Saving orchids seems like a walk in the park compared to this mess.

Combining ironic humor with sizzling suspense is the trademark of Carla Neggers' clever and distinctive reading gems. (Oct., 293 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith