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Sizzle by Julie Garwood

Garwood, who once wrote about the tough and rugged men of the Scottish Highlands and the powerful and hunky lords of the English realm in historical novels, now creates modern-day stories — with tough and rugged, powerful and hunky modern-day men. “Sizzle” features Sam in that role, and delightfully — even though Garwood doesn't spell it out — he seems to be a descendent of Alec Kincaid, the tough and rugged Scottish laird in Garwood's beloved novel “The Bride.”

Sam is an FBI agent, who saved Alec Buchanan's life. The  Buchanans are the modern-day family with ties to Garwood's latest books (certainly descendents of Brodick Buchanan of “Ransom”). Sam becomes Lyra’s bodyguard, as a favour to Alec. Lyra is Sidney Buchanan's friend and roommate, and when a couple of thugs come looking for Lyra, Sidney calls the calvary — her law enforcement brothers and brother-in-law (remember Noah Clayborne, descendent of the Mary Rose and her brothers in “For the Roses” and those spinoffs).

Since Sam is nearby, Alec tags him to help. Sam is a hunk, and Lyra is a beauty. Sparks begin to sizzle. (Pun intended.) Both try to resist their attraction, but it's a useless endeavour. Of course they succumb to the passion and love sizzling (pun intended again) between them and end up with a very nice happily-ever-after. But to get there, they have to navigate a few threats, thugs, bombs, mysteries and of course, their own stubbornness.
One imagines Garwood painstakingly agonizing over every sentence in her book, making sure everything is perfect. Mostly, because that's how her writing comes across — perfect. The story flows well, the plot is intriguing and the characters are likable and real. The only bad part about reading one of Garwood's books is knowing that when it ends, you have to wait another year to reunite with whichever characters she revives.

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