Catherine Sanderson is a successful single mom who's close to her teenage daughter, Phoebe. She's all about tak-ing responsibility for your choices. But there's one thing she can't own up to, despite Phoebe's wish: the identity of Phoebe's father. Then the man in question waltzes back into town after 18 years to request Catherine's help on an explosive story he's investigating.

Cleage specializes in creating refreshingly no-nonsense heroines. It's a tribute to her talent that she can elevate a secret-baby plot to something much richer. A more serious suspense subplot about child prostitution is handled well, though it meanders dangerously close to Lifetime movie melodrama at the very end. The author's warm, grounded voice will carry readers over any rough spots. (Mar., 304 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino