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Deadlier Than Male
 Deadlier Than Male by Sharon Sala and Colleen Thompson
by Sharon Sala and Colleen Thompson

  Delightfully Wicked!

DEADLIER THAN MALE teams up two unique voices in romantic suspense, Colleen Thompson and Sharon Sala, in spine-chilling short stories featuring wicked female characters. So wicked and devious are these women that the danger spirals deeper and deeper as they plot against two different couples.  In both stories, danger has the possibility to destroy romance or bring couples closer together.... if they live long enough to survive the threat to their lives!

In Sharon Sala's "The Fiercest Heart," high school sweethearts Haley Shore and Mack Brolin reunite after 10 years.  They had promised to wait for each other when Mack went away to college, but a car accident and the death of Haley's brother intervened.  Now, the death of Haley's father and a terse announcement of his funeral summon Haley back to her hometown.  Will Haley and Mack be able to rediscover the love they once had?  Someone seems determined to keep them apart at any cost.  Will Haley finally be able to stand up against the past? 

In "The Fiercest Heart," Sharon Sala writes a suspenseful story about young love maturing in the face of danger and outside pressure, maturing enough to finally be able to stand up against the forces against them.  The suspense lies not in the identity of the person plotting against them which the author reveals quite early but rather in the devious and outrageous lengths to which the person goes.  As troubling as the villain is the town's inability to stand up for Haley as a youth.  As the danger becomes more and more insideous, Mack and Haley are tested beyond their wildest dreams--- tested in ways that make them both stand up and free themselves of the past.  At heart, "The Fiercest Heart" is a second chance romance in which danger provokes the psychological growth needed for their love to survive.

In Colleen Thompson's "Lethal Lessons,"  elementary school teacher Mara Stillwell escapes to Red Bluff, Arizona hoping to free herself of the past but the past has a way of following a person.  Adam Jakes, her older brother's best friend, has a daughter Rebecca as a student in her class.   The death of her mother haunts Rebecca.  Rumors and warnings about Adam abound in this small western town, but Mara finds herself trusting the man, a man who, when he was much younger, used to set her heart afire.  As Mara tries to help Rebecca, will Mara place her trust in the wrong person?  Will the love growing between Mara and Adam be able to survive the danger or will the past finally catch up to them?

"Lethal Lessons" is a chilling tale of romance and suspense as past and setting merge to inflame the passions of a vicious villain.  As in her previous works, Colleen Thompson brilliantly makes use of setting to bring out the inner demons and compassion of her characters.  In the small town of Red Bluff, from the tighter environment of home and work, a threat emerges in the least expected place.  Rumors have more effect and positions of authority can be used to the detriment of individuals.  As the dark secrets of the heart emerge, the danger escalates, but so does the possibility of romance, and a compassion that grows from the conflict, a compassion that transforms all those around the couple.  Romantic suspense fans will relish the clever and fun echoes of past classics to which Colleen Thompson pays homage.  A brilliant twist!

As well as the enjoyment of each individual tale, DEADLIER THEN MALE is even more richly enjoyed by the pairing of the two individual stories.  Read in the context of the other story, the finer nuances of each emerges through contrast and comparison.  Similar themes in each, handled differently by each author, bring out the individual voice of each.  DEADLIER THEN MALE would make an excellent book club choice for romantic suspense fans for exactly this reason.  Unfortunately, the publisher diminishes the brilliance of the editor choice to pair these two particular stories and these two particular authors by the difference of font size on the cover.  Whether you come to this book as a fan of Colleen Thompson or of Sharon Sala, notice how the unique voice of each makes both stand out as quite special.  This reader certainly hopes to see more collaboration between these two as well as their individual works!  A keeper for fans of romantic suspense!

Publisher: Silhouette Romantic Suspense (November 2010)
Author websites
Sharon Sala
Colleen Thompson

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

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