Twas the night before Christmas . . . and dozens of rich, influential hostages are trapped inside a sprawling lakefront mansion in New Orleans. The perp? Detective Reed Ware, model cop turned outlaw. Reeds out for truth, and will stop at nothing to get itincluding waging a coup among the citys most elite, including the mayor, the council chairman, the sheriff, and the superintendent of police . . . who just happens to be hostage negotiator Caroline Wallaces father. Cool, calm, controlled. Thats Carolines reputation. But when Reed, looking even hotter than he did years ago when seventeen-year-old Caroline tried to seduce him, becomes her next case, shes swept up by their still-sizzling tension. Nothing about tonight is what it seems, and its up to Caroline to put the pieces togetherif she can think fast enough over the pounding of her heart. But the harder Caroline tries to do her job, the more she begins to wonder whose side shes really on.