Computer programmer J.D. Marshall didn't realize he sold his soul to the devil when he accepted a loan from his Uncle Harry's questionable Las Vegas friends. In order to get his revolutionary new banking software onto the market before his competition, J.D. needed funds. While his company makes every payment on time, the Las Vegas connection wants more than just money. In the middle of this crisis, J.D. receives an unexpected phone call. It seems he has a 15-year-old son from a brief teenage marriage.

Problems with his abusive stepfather lead Jackie Marshall to seek out his real father. Confronted with two serious situations, J.D. disappears with both Jackie and the computer program. A car accident strands them in Madrid, KY. Their savior is a spunky schoolteacher by the name of Nina Toon, who suspects there is something fishy about Mr. "Smith" and his young brother. In spite of her reservations, she agrees to rent rooms to J.D. while his truck is being repaired.

As a peace offering, J.D. offers his expertise in business to Nina, who dreams of creating a botanical garden. The funding to build this dream has seemed way out of reach. Can Nina trust the mysterious J.D., or is he just out to get what he can?

Even Madrid may not be a safe hiding place-there are signs that the Las Vegas crew has caught up with J.D. Is Nina risking more than her heart?

Historical author Patricia Rice proves she can easily adapt her wonderful storytelling ability to contemporary fiction. Make sure you add GARDEN OF DREAMS to your must read pile. (Feb., 360 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith