Love by Design by Marcella Sanders
(Arabesque/BET, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN: 1-58314-022-0
***
Love By Design is Marcella Sanders' first novel.

It is the romance between interior designer Daniella Taylor and Brant Parker. Daniella and Brant have a history, of sorts. They dated briefly before their romance was ended by nonfraternization rules at the company run by his father. "Employees were not allowed to date. Mark Parker had determined that romancing on the job posed too many problems."

Shortly after her breakup with Brant, Daniella met and married accountant Ray Spencer. The couple moved from New Jersey to Florida. Daniella was shocked to discover that Ray had only married her because she stood "to inherit a small fortune when her father died." She also learned "Ray Spencer had a woman in Miami, and a three-month-old son. He had property that he had no intention of Daniella finding out about and he ran with a crowd of crooks."

When Love By Design begins, Daniella is divorced and has returned to New Jersey and herold job at Parker's Art.

She is determined that she won't get involved romantically with anyone. Since her return, things at Parker's Art have changed. Brant is in charge and part of her work will involve traveling with him on business. Neither Daniella nor Brant's jealous fiancée are happy about the arrangements. But he is determined not to let Daniella get away again.

Love By Design is a second chance story. Brant and Daniella face a multitude of problems on their way to each other: fear, jealousy, insecurity and danger. Their friendships with best friends sustain them through their crises. Brant and Daniella love each other but seem to have a hard time getting it together and keeping it together.

The narrative is plagued by organizational problems. For example, pertinent information about the characters appears as back story late in the novel. The relationship between secondary characters Tyrone and Beverly is often more interesting than the ping-pong love life of the main characters.

That said, Marcella Sanders is off to an interesting first start with Love By Design. It's worth a look.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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