The first time that security consultant Sam Reese lays eyes on Francesca Marcelli she's eight months pregnant. It doesn't take Sam long to discover that the pregnancy act is part of her psychology thesis experiment.

Widowed Francesca finds herself more than a little attracted to Sam, especially since he was so kind when he believed she was actually pregnant and in need. Their compelling chemistry has all the vibes of hot affair, but it's cut short by a most unexpected visitor—Sam's ex-wife—who tells him that they have a daughter, 12-year-old Kelly. Sam is irate and overwhelmed to discover that he's the father of an angry preteen.

Instead of abandoning Sam, Francesca steps in to help bridge the gap between father and daughter. Unfortunately for Francesca, another piece of unexpected news is about to make their situation even more complicated.

Life is not going smoothly for the complex Marcelli family in Book 2 of this heartwarming trilogy, which hits the emotional bull's-eye. Sam and Francesca have a lot to deal with in a very short time, and Mallery gives a poignant resonance to their romantic and familial issues. (Oct., 323 pp., $6.49)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith