Hidden Star by Nora Roberts
(Silhouette Intimate Moments #811, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-07811-0
****
When you see Hidden Star (SIM 811), buy it. Then mark your calendars. Captive Star (SIM 823) is a December book and Secret Star (SIM 835) is a February release. These three books are The Stars of Mithra series, a trilogy about three women, three mystical blue diamonds and three romantic adventures.

Private investigator Cade Parris looks at life wryly and prides himself on being the black sheep of his wealthy family, the proverbial burr under their saddle. He's sitting in his dump of an office, amused yet chagrined at the mess his ex-secretary has left. There's a sandwich, luckily in a baggie, filed in the filing cabinet under L. Such is his life.

As Cade surveys his office and ponders the state of his life, in walks the potential love of his life. Or the lust of his life. Either way, his attention is caught.

The woman, who'll be known only as Bailey for a while, has amnesia. Go ahead and groan. I did and thought, "Oh, yuck, another amnesia story." Now wipe away all those misconceptions, and be prepared to be pulled into an intense, richly compelling story as we discover why Cade's lady love, Bailey, is an amnesiac. Also, discover why she has horrible flashbacks, why she has a cool million in cash and why she has a blue diamond the size of a "baby's fist."

Cade is one of my favorite types of hero, the type Nora writes so well. I like the 'never give up' type of hero, much like Alan MacGregor, Daniel MacGregor, Lance Matthews and countless others that Nora has brought to life. These heroes never doubt, never wonder if the relationship will work out. It has to. They value the heroine above all else. If Cade were in anybody else's but Nora's skilled hands, he might be too goody-goody. Here he's darn near-perfect.

Hidden Star is vintage Nora Roberts. Her deft touch with humor is all through the story. When Cade first accepts that Bailey has amnesia, he does some research using his computer, a machine that is not his favorite and that he does not trust:

"Cade drank another cup of coffee and learned more about the human brain than he'd ever wanted to know. For a short, uncomfortable time, he feared Bailey had a tumor. That he might have one, as well. He experienced a deep personal concern for his brain stem, then reconfirmed why he hadn't gone into medicine as his mother hoped."

One of the things that gave me great pleasure as I read Cade and Bailey's story is how he uses everything that he observes and learns to help Bailey learn more about herself. Most of the time I noticed how sweet it was. When he mentions that she has hysterical amnesia, she lets him know in no uncertain terms that she takes umbrage with the term 'hysterical'. It takes a while, but they become aware that they have found in each other the perfect mate.

The enjoyment that I got from seeing Cade deal with his 'society' mother will keep me grinning for days. They are both charmingly long-suffering with each other and leave Bailey slightly bewildered as she attempts to deal with Cade and his mother.

Hidden Star is definitely the first in a trilogy. We're introduced briefly, but provocatively to the other heroines, both of which are Bailey's good friends. We're left guessing as to the identity of the bad guy. We're also left wanting more. Much more.

How does Nora Roberts continue to give us such wonderfully enjoyable stories? I'm awed at her ability to define her characters. Some writers put words on paper. She makes the story come alive and the characters seemingly come off the pages. She's given me days, weeks, months of reading pleasure. Call me selfish, but I want more. My calendar is already marked for December and February. I'm following my own advice and am looking forward to books two and three.

--Linda Mowery


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