SHADOW WOMAN by Linda Howard

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Lizette is having a perfectly normal morning when she glances in the mirror and realizes that the face staring back at her is not hers. When she looks closely, she can see the faint scars from plastic surgery she doesn’t remember having.  In fact, there is a huge gap in her memories starting three years earlier.  And now when she tries to recall what happened, she experiences violent physical symptoms.  What she knows instinctively—although she cannot say how—is that someone has bugged her house and her car.  The same people who are watching her are the people who took her memories.  She also realizes that for some reason, she has significant training in espionage and combat.  Knowing that her life hangs in the balance, Lizette must put on a show for her observers as though nothing is wrong while she struggles to figure out what happened to her three years ago–and how she can escape.

Xavier has been observing Subject C for three years, looking for anything out of the ordinary.  When she begins making slight alterations to her behavior and habits, Xavier notices.  He doesn’t know whether Al and Felice have picked up on the subtle change, but then they never knew her as well as he does. Xavier knows the old Lizzy is coming back, and he knows that if Al and Felice realize it, her life will be in grave danger.  What Xavier doesn’t know is whether he can get close enough to protect her when the sight of him might bring her memories flooding back and put them all in even more danger.

Linda Howard is a bestselling thriller-romance writer.  I had previously read several of her books which I had hated (Ice, for example).  But I loved Shadow Woman.  The thriller plot and romance plot were fairly well integrated in this novel.  The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I literally read the book in two hours because I couldn’t stop turning pages.  So if you like thrillers and steamy romances, I think Shadow Woman is one of Linda Howard’s best.  (If you don’t like steamy romances, there are about 3 or 4 sex scenes, none of which are essential to the plot and can be skimmed over; but if you don’t like romance at all, Linda Howard is not for you.)

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