Kate Chilton's first meeting with powerful businessman Randall Johnson doesn't seem promising. She's recently widowed, and he's not her type. But when she learns a devastating secret about her late husband, the dinner invitation she abruptly declined suddenly seems like a very good idea.

Randall's controlled emotions make for an intriguing hero, who would be more sympathetic if his backstory came to light sooner. Herkness overplays the man-of-mystery angle too much, leaving the reader bewildered by some of Randall's actions. And Kate's behavior is frequently at odds with the character established for her: Would a smart, independent woman allow a man to continually control her life with little more than a token protest?

The entertaining plot, with its thrilling climax, compensates for the sometimes weak characterizations, which are bolstered by sharp dialogue and a heroine worth rooting for. Herkness' debut suggests she's a promising newcomer in this field. (Aug., 304,pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Donna Carter