Trisha R. Thomas, Author . Crown $22 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4874-8

Thomas's enjoyable but flawed novel continues the story of Venus Johnston, begun in Nappily Ever After . Now 36, Venus has become the director of a Washington, D.C., marketing firm. Sent to Los Angeles to revive JPWear, the clothing brand of former rap artist Jake Parson, Venus is surprised by her powerful instant attraction to Jake. She works hard to ignore her emotions, especially because her long-time fiancé, Airic, a self-made businessman, awaits her return to D.C. Jake, attracted to Venus and undeterred by her engagement, begins to weaken her resolve, until the sudden hospitalization of Venus's mother forces her to step back and carefully examine her own life. It also brings her into contact with her old flame Dr. Clint Fairchild, allowing her to express her long-held anger at their sudden breakup. She remains ambivalent about Jake's role in her life until her best friend visits Los Angeles with the disturbing news that Airic is under investigation for securities fraud. With her successful project nearly complete, Venus decides to return to Washington—more out of duty than love, though she won't admit it. Airic's case is favorably resolved, but Venus decides to end their relationship, even though she is pregnant with his child. Jake, still on the West Coast, has stayed in close touch with Venus; finally, he can be hers—but will he want to make a life with Venus and another man's child? Readers may be distracted by the plethora of bit players, and too much is crammed into the final few pages. Nonetheless, Thomas's new novel will please her fans and perhaps win new ones as well. (Feb.)

Forecast: Though a sequel, this novel easily stands alone, and compares favorably to others in the genre. Look for Thomas's numbers to rise.

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-307-54969-3
Paperback - 295 pages - 978-1-4000-4903-5
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