Gifted Anne Avery becomes a true master of the genre with this dazzling new love story set among the stars.

Just a shadow in the night, he takes great pleasure in tweaking the noses of Diloran Internal Security. But when he bursts into beautiful Marna of Zeyn's bedchamber, he's all too real, a fugitive in need of a hiding place. To her own astonishment, the lady finds herself helping the intruder hide from the guards searching room to room for the traitor responsible for the destruction of a governmental arms cache.

Still, she must ignore the strange stirrings of her heart brought to uncomfortable life by the mysterious stranger. After all, she is the designated bride of the heir to the Diloran Controller, even if he's just a foolish young man more concerned about his appearance than affairs of state. How surprising, then, that she occasionally catches a glimpse of a very different man behind the facade.

Then fate gives her an unexpected choice, one that will irrevocably alter her life. Will she have the courage to take the love she never expected to find?

A splendid storyteller, Ms. Avery writes with a rare depth of characterization, bringing an equally rare powerful intensity to this burgeoning new subgenre. (July, 448 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
M. Helfer