Taken by the Con (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) - C.J. Miller

A sexy scammer is determined to steal an FBI agent's heart


Her new partner in crime-fighting makes Lucia Huntington uncomfortably hot. To catch an embezzler, the beautiful FBI agent must work with ex-con Cash Stone...although they couldn't be more different. Career-driven Lucia lives by the rules, while devilishly charming Cash gleefully bends them.


Unbeknownst to Lucia, Cash once did wrong for the right reason--his ailing son. Now he claims he's working for the FBI to go on the straight and narrow. But as the case turns dangerous with deadly attacks, Lucia questions her trust in Cash. He's reliable and protective, making her yearn for the passionate bond that's always eluded her. But is their entire relationship one big con?


Good story. Lucia and Cash have been assigned to work together to help catch an embezzler. Lucia isn't very happy about it at the beginning. She is a stickler for following the rules and Cash sees rules pretty much as guidelines that can be worked around if necessary. Both of them have reason to want this case to end well.


Lucia is from a wealthy family, one she has never felt she fit into. She has always wanted to be an FBI agent. She was recently transferred from the violent crimes department to white collar crimes and is anxious to prove herself. Working with an ex-con is not her idea of how to do it. He's a criminal and she isn't sure that she can trust him. There's also a very inconvenient attraction that has a tendency to scramble her brain when she's around him.


Cash is the son of a con man, but he never wanted that life for himself. He stayed away from it, found a good woman to marry and had a son. When that son developed a rare cancer, the only thing that might help was an experimental treatment that was very expensive. The only way that he was able to raise the money was by running a con of his own. He was successful and the treatment worked, but Cash got caught and sent to prison. He hasn't seen his son in three years and is desperate to put his life back together and regain custody of his son. When the FBI offered to parole him from prison, on the condition he help them, he accepted. He has to succeed and behave himself, or he could end up back in prison. Working with Lucia is his ticket to freedom. That she is a beautiful and sexy woman is a definite bonus.


There were sparks between Lucia and Cash from the very beginning. Lucia tried hard to bury them, dismayed by the distraction Cash posed. She also can't believe she's attracted to someone like him, so different from the men she's been around before. Getting involved with any coworker is a bad idea, but this one would be wrong on many levels. Cash is also surprised by the attraction, but he's much more open to following up on it. He senses that there's a passionate woman under the layers of rules and regulations. 


Working together allows them to combine their strengths and pretty soon they start to make headway in their investigation. A couple of attacks on them have Cash's protective instincts up in arms, and Lucia begins to see Cash as someone she can trust after all. She sees that in spite of past mistakes Cash is a honorable man, intent on doing what is right. Her fears cause her to make a couple of bad decisions regarding Cash, but she quickly sees the error of her ways and moves to correct it. Cash sees that under her surface confidence, Lucia also has vulnerabilities. He sees her need to be accepted for who she is and tries to show her that he does. I loved how her growing relationship with Cash gave her the courage to stand up to her family's attitudes. That was a great scene and I was rooting for her all the way.


The search for the embezzler and attempts to capture him have a building intensity. Cash and Lucia have to go through several layers to get to him. There's a personal link between him and Cash that adds an extra motivation to Cash's desire to catch him. The teamwork between Cash and Lucia was great, especially in their undercover work. I liked seeing how their attraction added authenticity to their roles. The final showdown was pretty intense with a couple very interesting twists to it. One of those twists I never saw coming, and I loved seeing how Lucia handled it.


The wrapup of the story was great. The scene in the FBI office was sweet between Cash and Lucia, and I loved their coworkers' reactions. The last part at Lucia's parents' house was wonderful. I loved seeing the changing relationships, and Cash's son was adorable.