Strong emotions take center stage in a powerful love story that digs deeply into character motivation and hard-edged emotions. There are many lessons to be learned and difficult issues to face, but MacNish allows her memorable characters to deal with their problems and come out lovers and winners.

For the past three years, Kieran Mullin has lived under a cloud because of one horrid night that changed her life. Her brother hopes to break her out of her solitude by bringing her to Venice. During Carnivale she sees the man responsible for her nightmares and is thrust into the canal.

Gambler, womanizer, artist, writer and musician Matteo de Gama rushes to Kieran's rescue and gives her the one thing she desires: the opportunity for revenge. Kieran shares her dark secrets with him, and when he leaves Venice, her brother invites him to stay with them in England. Though he's vowed to aid Kieran in her quest for justice, she becomes his muse, his light, his sweet and tender toughness. Only he can teach her to love herself and forget the past. (Zebra, Oct., 416 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin