The Joker

Short Story in Bet Me Anthology

By Catherine Mann

Harlequin - August 2007

Contemporary Romance

Operation: Clean Sweep was under way in Las Vegas with the intent to clean up the city in seventy-two hours. Three female cops, all friends, are all going undercover. The Bet? Whichever of the three finish their case first, as well as have their report filed, will have a spa weekend and a one-week vacation.

Kim Wong was going undercover as a princess, which wasn't too difficult considering that in fact, she was one. She had left that behind, and was now a Las Vegas detective. She was to arrive at the Great Wall Casino impersonating her own cousin, Princess Ting, to try to uncover the possibility of stolen diamonds being smuggled to finance a revolutionary group. Everything was in place for her assignment. The only hitch was learning who her partner would be.

Air Force Captain Marcus Cardenas had been the logical person to place as escort to "Princess Ting". It was known that he knew the family, and he was well trained to be her bodyguard for the assignment. What was not known was the personal history between Kim and Marc. She knew that his nickname "The Joker" was not because he was a clown, but Kim noticed that he was even less lighthearted than he'd been before. What neither of them realized was exactly how deeply each of them had been affected by the other.

I absolutely adored The Joker, both the story and the hero. Both Kim and Marc must overcome the disappointment from their previous encounter while figuring out who is trying to kill "Princess Ting" while still protecting Kim. This story is part of the Bet Me Anthology which includes The Ace by Debra Webb and The Wildcard by Joanne Rock.

Kathy Andrico -