Three years of Linda Durard's life was wasted in prison after she trusted the wrong man. This naove college student of upper middle-class parents learns the hard way what it is to be on her own. When she is released from prison, still maintaining her claim of innocence, she decides not to return to her doubting family and moves in with the aunt of her attorney, Marian.

Avery Washington is the director of a community youth center. The former professional athlete built and dedicated the center in the neighborhood where he grew up. He did not want another family to experience the pain that he did after losing his older brother to drugs.

As a favor to his childhood friend Marian, Avery reluctantly gives Linda a temporary position at the center. He is suspicious of her wealthy background, her association with drugs and her motives for being at the center. Despite his reluctance, he finds himself drawn to her and struggles with his feelings and their developing relationship.

Ms. Wootson has a knack for developing characters with strong convictions and feelings. The story flows smoothly from the get go, from the development of the characters, both major and minor, through its very satisfying conclusion. (Aug., 288 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Debbie R. Sims