Brenda Novak, Author . Harlequin $6.50 (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-83570-6

Novak's latest is an energetic if unlikely tale set in the Arizona desert. Divorced mother Gabrielle Hadley has moved to the small town of Florence to be near her birth mother, whom she hopes to approach for the first time. Unfortunately, taking a guard's job in one of the town's many prisons is her only option for employment. When she witnesses convicted murderer Randall Tucker being savagely beaten without any protection from the other guards, she's torn. Should she speak out against her colleagues' corruption, or stay silent despite Tucker's injuries? Her dilemma intensifies when her police car crashes as she and another officer are attempting to transfer Tucker to another prison. Gabrielle follows the fleeing Tucker into the desert, and amid their fight for survival, she comes to believe in his innocence and acknowledge their mutual attraction. When they finally return to civilization, she agrees to harbor both Tucker and the son he has kidnapped from foster care while he fights to gain his freedom. Novak's story is richly dramatic, with a stark setting that distinguishes it nicely from the lusher worlds of other romances. Sadly, its appeal is badly weakened by inconsistent character motivation and an abrupt, all-too-convenient resolution. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/27/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4268-3658-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-4603-0206-4
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