Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
AlTonya Washington. Kensington Publishing Corp., $6.99 (352 pgs.) ISBN: 0-7582-1435-9
June 26, 2006
In the latest novel from the popular African-American romance writer, prominent Charlotte, N.C., newspaper publisher Alexander Rice is struggling to distance himself from his former life as a violent member of the criminal underworld. When he meets ravishing garage owner Topaz Emerson, who has drawn the attention of every man in town and the ire of most women, he's hooked. Their relationship burns slowly, as Alex tries to protect Topaz from an aggressive real estate magnate who is using brute force to buy up all the businesses on Topaz's block. When their relationship heats up, though, Alex's secrets drive him to keep Topaz at a distance. Pushing toward a dangerous confrontation with the crooked men behind Lockhurst Properties, Alex finds he must spill his secrets and face his past head on, risking the love he and Topaz share in order to protect her. Washington's story of love, career and forgiveness is both sexy and earnest. Genuine relationships are the main draw in Washington's novels, and she does not disappoint—though too many times she narrates when her strong, smart characters could just as easily speak for themselves. (Aug.)
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