If timing is everything, Henderson has it in spades as she launches the second novel in her inspirational suspense/romance series Uncommon Heroes, spotlighting military maneuvers in the Middle East. Navy Lt. Grace "Gracie" Yates is a tough, blue-eyed brunette who has a passion for flying harrowing missions. She's on the radar screen of Air Force Maj. Bruce "Striker" Stanton, who is looking for a long-term relationship despite his and Gracie's military careers, which separate them for long stretches. Henderson avoids mushy romantic cliches almost to a fault her characters are chaste, even by conservative standards, and Bruce and Gracie's first kiss is as lukewarm as old dishwater. But fresh touches of humor mixed with hair-raising rescue scenes keep readers involved, and there's enough Scripture and God talk to please the CBA market. The characterizations are wonderfully done, right down to Bruce's elderly hound dog, Emily, although overlong stretches of dialogue dilute the quality of some of the writing. The pace is often mired in incomprehensible military jargon ("She'd been given vectors to a KC-135 tanker on angels 12 as a backup, but there wasn't a bright billboard to tell her where it was in its pattern"), but readers can bail themselves out by using the glossary provided, which will be well-thumbed by the final page. Henderson's military themes and her strong, career-minded female characters are fairly original for the CBA market, and this latest installment should help build steam for the series. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.