Cinderella's Secret Agent

Engaging Sam

A Wish and a Dream

Fugitive Hearts by Ingrid Weaver
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1101, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27171-9
Four hearts

At a secluded resort three hours north of Toronto, children’s author Dana Whittington opens her door to find a lump of snow on her doorstep. The lump turns out to be a man, nearly frozen. He’s also unconscious. Dana brings him inside, thaws him out, and finds a day planner in the pocket of his coat. From this, she deduces he’s “John Becker”.

But his real name is Remy Leverette, and he’s a prison escapee.

Remy has spent the last seven months in the penitentiary after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. He knows that his chances of getting his conviction overturned are virtually nil, unless he can find evidence on his own. And unless he can find out who really killed his wife, chances are good he’ll never see his five-year-old daughter again. Hence, the escape and flight into the north woods. Dana, blithely unaware she’s harboring a wanted man, brushes aside her slight unease. John is obviously a good man. Her cat loves him. She senses there’s more to his story, but it will all come out eventually. When John/Remy saves her life, the truth soon comes out and she feel obligated to help him in his quest.

Soon Dana is more than helping - she’s using her writing persona to gain access to Remy’s daughter, and the one piece of evidence that may clear him.

This is not a new plot line by any means. Man on the run, isolated cabin, single woman who takes him in - it’s all been done a hundred times. To be honest, it doesn’t feel particularly fresh here. What it does feel is realistic. Dana begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake, even as she and Remy discover their instant bond my be a lifetime thing. Remy agonizes over his involving Dana in a possibly threatening situation, even as he’s falling in love with her. Relatives have to be dodged. The police must be thrown off the scent. And Dana and Remy have precious few resources at their disposal, other than her name as an author and their combined smarts.

The story has a great flow to it and the pacing is kept taut. The romance between the desperate Remy and the lonely Dana is beautifully paced and quite sensual. Dana also has a painful secret, one that is allowed to unfold and then become a natural part of the story. There are no quick-fix endings for it, either, which was greatly appreciated by this reader.

Fugitive Hearts is an intelligent, sexy romance with two vulnerable characters who find they are just what the other needs. If you like contemporary romance with a thread of suspense, this one will be sure to please.

--Cathy Sova

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