No Commitment Required
by Seressia Glass
(Genesis/Indigo, $8.95, R) ISBN 1-58571-1028-8
****
It is apropos that Michael Benjamin and Yvonne Mitchelson met in the baggage claim area of one of the nation’s busiest airports. Michael had been called into service to pick up Yvonne when his best friend was involved in a fender bender on the way to the airport.

After an awkward introduction, Michael and Yvonne mentally begin to take notice of each other. Yvonne heads a thriving chain of lingerie boutiques and Michael is president of an Atlanta-based marketing firm. Later, as they learn they might be doing business together, each subliminally explores the possibilities of a er, professional relationship.

But his wife’s betrayal and tragic death have burned Michael. He is carrying a load of baggage that has nothing whatsoever to do with travel. Yvonne also has issues related to the automobile accident that killed her parents and her twin sister when she was in her early teens. She is the sole survivor of the crash.

Both Yvonne and Michael carry deep wounds from the past that still fester. And, as a result of the hurt they have both experienced, each has constructed barriers that prevent them from long-term love relationships. Although the attraction between them is strong - given their painful histories - Michael and Yvonne fight it and agree to a professional friendship with “no strings attached.”

No Commitment Required is a sparkling debut novel by Atlanta writer Seressia Glass. It is a story of redemption, trust, guilt, love and loss. Glass’ clean, crisp style and flowing narrative made it almost impossible to put it down. There are a few copyediting lapses that may mar enjoyment of an otherwise remarkable book. The book is rated R, primarily for language.

Did I mention that Yvonne is African American and Michael is white? It might have slipped my mind because while it is an element of their story, race is not an all-encompassing issue. The author has created an interracial romance where the emphasis is on the romance. Perhaps this is the reason No Commitment Required was released under the publisher’s Indigo Romance imprint instead of its interracial signature, Love Spectrum.

Glass has deftly given readers just enough description of her main characters to generate interest in them. My enjoyment of the book was increased because I had the luxury of reading from galleys that had no cover art. Michael and Yvonne have so many other compelling obstacles to face that race does not lurk as a third major character. However, that is not to say that the couple exists in a vacuum. The race issue is intermittently handled with sensitivity, honesty and humor.

Yvonne and Michael’s struggle against becoming involved and, later, to preserve their fragile relationship intrigue the reader and reel them in. The secondary characters are real team players that provide wit, advice and substance to the story. I hope the author plans a spin-off of an unresolved relationship in the making very soon.

No Commitment Required is the best romance by a new author I have read so far this year. It has earned Seressia Glass a spot on my Emerging Authors List.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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