has also reviewed:

Chance McCall
Deep in the Heart
Finder's Keepers
Ryder's Wife
Second Chances
Sweet Baby

As Dinah McCall:

Chase the Moon
Jackson Rule

Roman's Heart by Sharon Sala
(Silh. Int. Mom. #859, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07859-3
Roman's Heart is the second book of Sharon Sala's new trilogy, "The Justice Way" in Silhouette Intimate Moments series. Sala is a strong proponent of a strong but sensitive hero and nowhere is it more evident than in this series.

Until the final book of the series is released, I don't know yet if this is a recurrent theme but, oddly enough, Roman's Heart opens in much the same fashion as the first book of the series, Ryder's Justice just with a twist. In that book, the hero regains consciousness in the cockpit of a crashed airplane. In this book, the heroine wakes up dangling from a very tall pine tree in Colorado suspended from an open parachute. Her plane has crashed as well.

Only this heroine doesn't remember who she is, how she got there, or more importantly, how to get down. When she finally reaches the lower limbs, she tumbles ten feet onto a dufflebag that she discovers contains about one million dollars in cash. Knowing her most immediate need is shelter, she heads down the mountain. Finding an abandoned cabin, she drags herself in and collapses.

The Texas Justice family owns the cabin. Oldest brother Royal has persuaded Roman to take a week off before burnout consumes him and Roman shows up dreading his vacation. Finding a tattered, injured woman is clearly not in his plans, but soon she awakens his protective instincts.

They are trapped together for a week in a violent spring snowstorm. The young woman must first fall in love with him before she trusts him with the contents of the dufflebag. Roman, although in love with her, fears she may be married or otherwise involved.

When communications are restored, Roman learns that a plane did crash in the vicinity that two men have been found alive, and wealthy Holly Benton was aboard but still missing. The really distressing part is that according to survivor Gordon Malloy, he and Holly were on their way to the Bahamas to be married.

Holly categorically rejects the fact that she could be engaged to someone else, but she is less sure about why she has all that money. Her father shows up to take her home, but she asks Roman to keep the money until they can figure out why she has it.

Soon the plot thickens, but it continues to move very quickly and convincingly even with an old familiar plot line. Yes, amnesia again. I still haven't had any personal experience with amnesia but the reawakening seems more believable in this book than in most.

Sharon Sala (who is also Dinah McCall) has a gift for creating compelling characters whose actions and dialogue always remain faithful to those characters. Sala has an ability to mature the romance at the same time as she matures the plot. As she effortlessly shifts the point of view from hero to heroine, the reader barely realizes it is happening.

Even with this tired plot line, it proves once again that with talent you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (If you're inclined to disagree, do check out that silk purse in the Smithsonian.)

--Thea Davis

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