For Pete's Sake

One Silent Night

The Rescue of Jenna West

A Secret Yearning

 
Still the One by Debra Cowan
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1127, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27197-2
****
Rafe Blackstock is one of those people that appears to have it all. He was on course to be a pilot and thought that Kit Foley, his soul mate would marry him. Kit turned him down cold and six years later he washed out as a pilot due to recently acquired night blindness. Rafe has returned to Oklahoma City to be near his parents and has opened a private investigators office.

Kit Foley is a flight attendant and is also continuing to do what she had done since she was 14 years old: serving as a parent to her younger sister Liz. When her mother died Kitís father became accustomed to Kit taking care of everything. Liz was a challenge; she was not only horribly spoiled and headstrong, but reckless as well.

Ten years have passed since Kit turned Rafe down when she is forced to turn to him for help. She has been called to the hospital because Liz has been in a traffic accident. When she arrives Liz has disappeared with her husband Tony, leaving a note that the mob is after them.

Kit begs Rafe to help her find Liz. Rafe always assumed the reason Kit turned him down was because she couldnít let go of her role as family caretaker, so finding Liz is not high on his priority list. However, he realizes he is still attracted to Kit, so he agrees to look into it.

Rafe looks around a bit, finds that the car accident probably was not an accident, and that Kitís apartment has been bugged. He also discovers that both his car and Kitís have tracers on them. At this point, Rafe starts taking everything very seriously - especially Kitís safety.

Cowan creatively sustains the suspense of the ensuing chase, but that is not the thrust of Still the One. Kit and Rafe are still in love with each other but each has a tremendous amount of baggage to overcome before they can trust again. Instead of building the tension to one grand epiphany, Cowan takes it slowly, letting the characters resolve their problems gradually and realistically.

The author deserves special kudos for her pragmatic handling of what could have been tiresome angst. She interjects her approach with very steamy sexual tension that just keeps on building. Private investigators paired with an anxious family member can become a matter of deja vu, but likable characters and inventively sustained sexual tension make this novel an excellent read.

--Thea Davis


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