Like father, like daughter. Mary Donatto has learned all she needs to know about how to run a con from her roguish father. Upon his sudden death, Mary is left with her two faithful servants. With nothing to lose, she decides to carry out her father's last scam, heading for Colorado to find Geoffrey Archer, one of the West's wealthiest men.

Adding the title "Countess" to her name, Mary arrives at the fabulous Hotel Colorado to waylay Archer. She just doesn't count on the hotel's owner, Marcus Thorne. Marcus has vowed to expose Archer as a thief and a con artist. Then Mary sweeps into his life, after shooting a train robber and bringing attention to herself.

Following her father's rules, she sets out to dupe Archer, selling him false stock certificates. But Marcus makes it difficult for her to work her magic on Archer; he's spinning a web of desire around Mary.

Wary of love and marriage, Mary tries to withstand Marcus's assault on her defenses. Even after working her con, she finds that she just can't go through with it and decides to set things right. What follows is a hilarious, warm, loving and funny romp that leads to a love Mary never expected.

Anne Avery knows how to sneak into readers' hearts and make them laugh until they almost weep with joy. You'll enjoy this light-hearted, charming frolic of a read. SWEET (Mar., 391 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin