Dee Holmes, Author . Berkley $6.99 (311p) ISBN 978-0-425-18815-6

Stock characters and a dated premise make this contemporary romance between a prim and prickly "uptown" girl and a jaded, Harley-hugging bad boy feel like a poorly scripted '50s flick. When interior decorator Annie Hunter finds 13-year-old orphan Cullen Gallagher asleep on her porch swing, she does what any self-concerned resident of upscale Bedford, R.I., would do—she calls the police. The police haul the scruffy-looking kid off of her property but not before Cullen voices his belief that Annie's late husband was his father. Intrigued and more than a little incensed, Annie, who was unable to have children, follows Cullen to the station and meets Linc McCoy, the director of Cullen's group home. Linc has a chip on his shoulder and a general dislike for well-off women, but he's still attracted to Annie and willing to help her get to the bottom of Cullen's paternity. Holmes's trite prose ("Her heart was pounding as she cast a look back up the staircase.… A man secreted away in her bedroom. It was so deliciously crazy, she almost giggled.") adds little color to this bland tale, and her characters' speech patterns are eerily similar. Though some readers may find joy in seeing Annie get a second chance at love, others will be disappointed by the book's recycled story line and one-dimensional characters. (Jan. 7)

Reviewed on: 12/16/2002
Release date: 01/01/2003
Ebook - 978-0-7865-3844-7
Hardcover - 471 pages - 978-0-7862-5230-5
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