Filled with angst, passion and suspense, Ranney’s first Wicked Widow tale delivers a carefully plotted story. Though readers will either love or hate her characters, Ranney provides enough back-and-forth in their relationship to tug at heartstrings and keep the reader riveted. She’s a gifted storyteller, willing to take risks that definitely pay off.

When her husband dies without an heir, Virginia Traylor, Countess of Barrett, is desperate to find a way to save the family. Following her mother-in-law’s advice, she rushes to her childhood sweetheart. Macrath Sinclair made a fortune as an inventor and built a house for Virginia, yet she wed another. Macrath has no idea what she suffered in the marriage her father arranged, nor why she has come to him. He doesn’t care: She is in his house and his bed. Their mutual seduction brings them joy but, after several weeks, Virginia runs off — leaving Macrath again. But this time he is not so quick to forgive. He and Virginia will have to learn that the power of love must be stronger than pride, or all is lost. (AVON, Aug., 380 pp., $7.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin