Anne Stuart, Author . Mira $6.50 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55166-813-0

When French artist Aristide Pompasse, famous almost as much for his affairs as for his paintings, is found dead—possibly murdered—his estranged wife, the much younger Charlie Thomas, reluctantly returns to Pompasse's Tuscan villa in preparation for the funeral. Five years before, Charlie escaped from Pompasse's domineering hold to start a new life for herself in New York City, and now she is determined to seal the painful memories of her past by selling Pompasse's estate. But first Charlie will have to face Pompasse's former lovers and deal with Conner Maguire, an abrasive tabloid reporter posing as an insurance consultant. While Charlie and Connor fling insults at each other and search for Pompasse's missing paintings, they uncover some startling secrets indicating that someone may be out to harm Charlie. Through colorful prose and snappy, realistic dialogue, Stuart (Wild Thing, etc.) skillfully portrays the palpable friction between Charlie and Connor, but she fails to ignite much excitement with the mystery element of this story. Although the narrative does pick up during the last third of the book, readers looking for a fast-paced thriller are likely to be disappointed. Those drawn to sexual heat, however, will find plenty here to satisfy. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/04/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4268-2918-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55204-271-7
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