Lance Michelli will do anything for his grandmother. After a stroke, she becomes frantic about an old family injustice and sends Lance to an old villa in Sonoma, California. The villa used to be owned by his family, and it may still be theirs legally. Bad news for the new owner, a feisty female housing contractor named Rese Barret.
Lance answers Rese's ad for a cook in order to sleuth out family secrets. But sparks between him and Rese short-circuit his plans, and his Christian conscience nags him over the deception. Evidence of murder and mob intrigue from the prohibition era put them both in the danger zone.
From an opening cluttered with too many characters and situations, Heitzmann moves into a fast-paced and complex love story, enhanced by a riveting mystery. Lance is a keeper as a hero and Rese adorable as the hard-shelled, vulnerable heroine. (Sep., 384 pp., $12.99)
Jill Elizabeth Nelson