cover image GOLDEN LIES


Barbara Freethy, . . Signet, $6.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-451-21126-2

The reappearance of a long-lost Zhou dynasty dragon is the catalyst that reunites three mismatched families in this lively romp from Freethy (Summer Secrets , etc.). When security expert Riley McAllister helps his grandmother haul a wagonload of old junk to the Antiques on the Road show, he doesn't think she'll get more than five dollars for the lot. But the moment the dragon hits TV screens, collectors are on them like a pack of hungry wolves, especially the owner of the House of Hathaway, San Francisco's most prestigious antiques emporium. Against his better judgment, Riley entrusts the dragon to Paige Hathaway for appraisal, which turns out to be a big mistake when the dragon goes missing. Paige and Riley's search for the object d'art takes them on a fast-paced adventure through the streets of San Francisco, from fashionable Union Square to funky Chinatown, where Paige discovers the existence of her half-sister Alyssa Chen. A WWII pact between the protagonists' fathers, a 1,000-year-old legend and romance between Riley and Paige and between Alyssa and an old love add depth and richness to the story. Those charms, combined with Freethy's smooth prose, spirited storytelling and engaging characters, are sure to send readers on a treasure hunt for the author's backlist books. (Feb.)