Against the Wind

Beyond Desire

Fools Rush In

Midnight Magic

Naked Soul

Obsession

Swept Away

Wedding Bells

 
Secret Desire by Gwynne Forster
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13), ISBN 1-58314-124-3
****
Secret Desire is a spin-off of Gwynne Forster=s immensely popular 1999 romance, Beyond Desire. That novel introduced Portsmouth, Virginia police captain Luke Hickson as the brother of hero Marcus Hickson. Luke made such an impression on readers that within weeks of the release of Beyond Desire>B?, the author received hundreds of letters asking that his story be told.

As Secret Desire begins, Kate Middleton and her son have left their former home in Gross Pointe, Michigan. For ten years, Kate had been trapped in a marriage to a controlling, egocentric man. Her freedom comes only when her husband is killed in an automobile accident. But he continues to manipulate her from the grave leaving her only a fraction of his estate. It is enough money for Kate to put away funds for Randy=s education and start a new life in Portsmouth as a bookseller.

It is in her bookstore that Luke first encounters Kate. Her store has been burglarized and Kate and Randy have been handcuffed together for hours. Luke rescues the pair and offers them something to eat. He notices Kate, not as a victim, but as a woman he could be attracted to. He also notices that Randy is something of a brat and could use a firm influence in his life. Luke arranges for a patrolman to keep and eye on Kate and her store and arranges for Randy to participate in activities sponsored by the local Police Athletic League.

Kate is protective of Randy and of her newfound independence. For his part, Luke hesitates getting involved with Kate because, after the tragic death of his wife, he does not want another woman to depend upon him for her safety. However, geography plus a series of mishaps Kate is convinced are linked to her former in-laws continue to occur. These throw Luke and Kate together.

The attraction between Kate and Luke is immediate and their relationship develops naturally. There is strong sexual tension, albeit very prolonged, between the couple. A secondary romance between one of Luke’s officers and Kate’s cousin left me ambivalent as to whether I wanted to see them again - together or apart.

Amanda and Marcus Hickson and their children are revisited in Secret Desire. Beginning with Sealed With a Kiss the first (and my favorite) Gwynne Forster romance, the author’s strongest stories feature children in supporting roles. Amy Hickson, the preschool vixen of Beyond Desire is back. She’s now a more mature seven years old and once again - with Randy Hickson in her sights - can teach the adults a lot about relationships. Amy does as much to straighten Randy out as any of the PALS’ activities! She is an old soul who steals every scene she’s in. I can’t wait for her to grow up and have a book of her own.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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