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Sinclair's Surprise Baby

The Cinderella Scandal
by Barbara McCauley
(Silh. Desire #1555, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76555-X
The Cinderella Scandal launches Silhouette Desire’s new continuity series: Dynasties: The Danforths. Set in Savannah, one of my favorite cities, the Danforths are “a family of prominence...tested by scandal, sustained by passion.”

It’s a twelve-book series so you can expect a run of sheikhs, SEALS, cowboys, secret babies, second-chance romances and other standard fare. There also an online prequel on the eHarlequin site and a special anthology planned for the summer.

Savannah businessman Abraham Danforth is a 55-year-old widower with five adult children and an assortment of official and unofficial relatives. The patriarch of the Danforth clan has summoned everyone to Crofthaven, the family manse. Abraham is eyeing a U.S. Senate seat and wants to make sure his internal and external ducks are in a row. It is a year before the election, but there is a lot to do.

Son Reid, a Danforth & Company executive, is also responsible for setting up the campaign offices. The location he has selected is owned by Ivan Alexander, who also owns and operates Castle Bakery next door. He goes by finalize the lease on the space and meets Katina, the youngest of Alexander’s three single daughters.

When he says he has come about her father’s ad, Tina wrongly assumes he is there for the counter clerk position. This is the first of several misunderstandings the two will face. She is not pleased that Reid is renting the space for his father’s campaign office because she has coveted the vacant space for herself as a sandwich and coffeehouse. Her father thinks she is too young to have her own business.

As Reid and Tina spend more time together, their attraction grows. However, family secrets that could have an impact on Abraham Danforth’s senate campaign threaten to keep them apart.

Barbara McCauley has a difficult job. As the lead-off author, she is responsible for writing a story that not only introduces the series, but generates enough interest in the characters to encourage readers to stay with it each month.

The Cinderella Scandal, as the title suggests, is a story of love between the classes. Reid Danforth is one of many princes in the Danforth clan. However, the Cinderella metaphor is a bit of a stretch. Tina works hard and her two older sisters are flaky about their love lives and ties to the family business, but they are not wicked. Characterization of the Danforths are somewhat sketchy and I am assuming with a year-long series, we will get to know them better. The Alexanders are better defined. Of them, Aunt Yana is my favorite character. She is an enlightened woman who steals every scene she’s in.

The Cinderella Scandal is a solid three-heart read that introduces characters we’ll be spending a year with.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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