Kathleen Eagle, . . Morrow, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-06-621470-2

Cassandra Westbrook and Thomas Brown Wolf have nothing and everything in common. She's blond-on-pale; he's African-American, Lakota Sioux and "a little bit white." She's a rich widow with an elegant home, vibrant social life and successful Minneapolis art gallery; he's a loner who seems to live through the dark thoughts and derring-do of the characters in his comics and graphic novels. From the moment they meet at Sotheby's in Chicago, as the two high bidders for a folio of Native American ledger drawings, it's a dance of attraction and suspicion. Fans of Eagle's hardcover debut, The Night Remembers, will have an advantage when it comes to untangling the hero's many personas: he's Thomas Warrior, Tommy T. or Tom, depending on who's in the room. But first-time readers will have the advantage when it comes to edge-of-the-seat suspense involving Thomas's felon brother, Victor. And all will enjoy the nuanced portraits of Cassandra's adolescent nephew, Aaron, an artist and loner, whose kidnapping drives the drama. Eagle, a white woman married to a Lakota Sioux, enriches the romance genre with her unforced, unaffected multiculturalism. No doctrine, no rainbow parades here—just an appreciation for all that is human. Eagle's prose may occasionally be more cotton than silk, but her scene setting is convincing and her pacing flawless. (Oct.)