True Hearts by Maggie Ferguson
(Harlequin Intrigue #474, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-22474-5
Talk about an identity crisis!

For 26 years, Hailey Monroe had been the loved and sheltered only daughter of Jack and Abby Monroe, of Chicago. Her life quickly changed when the Monroes were involved in an automobile accident. Her mother died instantly, but her father lingered long enough to tell her that the Monroes were not her parents.

Hailey bears no physical resemblance to the Monroes. The family claimed baby pictures had been destroyed in a fire. The state couldn't locate her birth certificate. Despite many unanswered questions and inconsistencies, Hailey assumed she had been adopted and that her birth parents had given her away. That is, until investigator Sean Cassadine arrives.

Sean had been sent by millionaire publisher Alan Palmer to determine if Hailey was his missing daughter, Susan.

Susan Palmer had been kidnaped 22 years ago from the family estate. Two of the kidnappers had been found. One had been tried and convicted of the crime and the other was killed allegedly by a third person, an accomplice known only as "Sarge." Blood stains were found on a child's sweater and Susan Palmer was presumed dead although her body had never been found.

But over the years, several young women contacted Alan Palmer, claiming to be Susan, but their stories were exposed as hoaxes or extortion attempts. Sean assumes Hailey is yet another imposter whose late father may have been involved in the kidnapping. Hailey has made no claims; she just wants to protect Jack Monroe's reputation. Alan Palmer is overjoyed. His long-lost daughter has been returned.

Sean has a personal stake in this investigation. His parents were close friends of the Palmers. Twenty-two years ago, he had been left in Alan Palmer's care while his parents were out of town. Three-year-old Susan adored Sean and followed him everywhere.

"He and Susan had been outside playing when Susan's nanny had asked him to keep an eye on her, but he hadn't. He'd left her along while he had gone to check out Cook's new golden retriever. He'd only been gone a few minutes, but it had been long enough for the kidnappers . . . It had all been his fault . . ."

While Sean tries to fight his attraction to Hailey and determine the truth, Hailey is fending off attempts on her life by someone on a growing list of suspects. Someone wants her out of the way.

True Hearts is Maggie Ferguson's fourth potboiler for Harlequin. Crime of Passion, Fever Rising and Looks are Deceiving are the others. As in all her books, the romance and suspense get equal attention as Hailey and Sean work together to unravel the mystery. Clues lead to unexpected places. Nothing is as it seems. Die-hard suspense readers will enjoy the wild ride on a plot with lots of hairpin turns. Romance readers will enjoy the steamy sexual tension between the two main characters.

Is Hailey Monroe really Susan Palmer?

I strongly recommend reading True Hearts to find out.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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