Reserved Jessica Meredith devotedly assisted her grandfather, Claude Frazier, in running the family corporation, Sea Gull Transport & Charter, Inc. Currently they are in danger of losing the company in a hostile takeover by Brazilian businessman Rafael Castelan y Torres, the president and CEO of CMARC. Claude has suffered a stroke, leaving Jessica and her cousin Keil to negotiate with Rafael.

While in Rio during negotiations, Keil and Jessica attend a private masked ball. Already uneasy, Jessica is horrified when it suddenly becomes a sexual free for all. Retreating to the patio, she is accosted by one man and rescued by another. For one wild moment she lets herself go. A camera's flash brings her quickly back to reality and to the possibility of blackmail. Already disturbed by her uncharacteristic behavior, Jessica discovers that the enigmatic Rafael is her masked lover.

Rafael's company is not the only one attempting a take-over, but Rafael trumps everyone's bid by buying up the existing Sea Gull loans. Sensing the attraction between Jessica and Rafael, Claude proposes a merger of their businesses-and of the two families.

Rafael is troubled when a series of incidents convince him that someone is out to get Jessica. With all the tense emotion and distrust between them, can they resolve their problems and make the proposed marriage work?

Perennial favorite Jennifer Blake works her magic once again with this sensual and enthralling tale of greed, lust, hate and love. (July, 372 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith