With two shots fired in the dark, this easy-to-read novel sets off at a frantic pace. The reader is introduced to Talia Marchand, who is not only smart, beautiful and very successful, but is also utterly determined not to be dragged back into the mire of poverty, foster homes, shame, fear, drugs and child abuse of her past.

Unfortunately, her friend, lover and confidant, Derrick Guillory, has other plans. He knows that the passion, chemistry and deep affection that exist between them won't flourish if she insists on avoiding her poor past, her drug addicted mother and the dark secret that they witnessed.

Ms. Emery paints a picture of an independent woman who followed the successful money path and who now needs her other half to heal the past and make her complete.

Despite the fact that topics such as murder, drug abuse and jail are not standard plot thickeners in the romance genre, Ms. Emery's talent at creating a complete picture makes sure that the romance of the story is not overshadowed by these elements. On the whole, Ms. Emery paints a succinct, sensual and sensible story line that is not only enjoyable but a satisfying four stars. (Nov., 384 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Shamaine Henry