by Catherine Snodgrass

March 2003
ISBN: 1-59279-025-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Amber Quill Press

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Circles in the Sand involves murder, adultery, and the lifelong passion of two people who will go to any extreme to be together!

Samantha Kent and Kelly MacLaughlin have been in love since childhood, their families share a business, and a friendship. When Kelly gets another girl, Loretta, pregnant and is forced to marry her, Samantha is heartbroken. Kelly is forced into marriage by Loretta’s domineering father via threats, but Kelly vows one day he’ll be with Samantha!

Samantha moves away from her home to live with her grandmother, removing herself from the pain Kelly’s marriage causes her. When Kelly comes to visit with his wife and son, old feelings resurface, and Kelly and Samantha can no longer deny the love they feel for one another! During his visit Samantha’s grandmother is killed, and Kelly consoles Samantha, reaffirming his love for her. However, Loretta’s not willing to give Kelly up, her father warned her he’d leave her penniless if she leaves Kelly, and she isn’t willing to give up the gravy train just yet. Loretta schemes to keep Kelly, all while she’s unfaithful, and plots to get Kelly’s money!

Samantha won’t settle for playing second fiddle to Loretta, even though Kelly assures her he’d divorce Loretta if it weren’t for the fact that she’d suck him dry in alimony, and possibly try to keep his son from him. The lovers are caught in a dilemma when Samantha’s grandmother's will is read and she must move back home in order to keep her inheritance.

Samantha moves back home reluctantly, knowing she’ll be forced to see Kelly and Loretta together, and meets Warren, a new neighbor and someone she finds very attractive. Circumstances lead Warren and Samantha to marry, leaving Kelly infuriated with Samantha, and with Loretta, who he can't seem to be rid of!

Warren has his own motives for marrying Samantha, and once revealed, murder and mayhem ensue, taking this reader on a ride that had many twists and turns!

This reader was a bit perturbed with Kelly! It would seem rather presumptuous for Kelly to be so angry with Samantha for marrying Warren, when he had no qualms about asking her to hang around, and become his mistress, until he could rid himself of his wife Loretta! Granted, Samantha married Warren out of spite (which also seemed ludicrous) but Kelly could have divorced Loretta at any given time in this story, he stayed married to her because he didn’t want to be soaked for alimony. To this reader, that particular reason, just didn’t feel like true love, some of the reasons Kelly gave for continuing his marriage seemed blown too far out of proportion. I also had trouble with the idea that he slept with Loretta to begin with, if in fact he loved Samantha the way he claimed.

Loretta is hell on wheels! The author created a true villainess in this character; lying and manipulative are mere words compared to this woman!

Overall, I felt some disappointment in this read. Kelly and Samantha did some pretty silly things to one another that lessened my interest in them as a couple. The plot itself was scattered, with a variety of things going on. However, the dialogue was stimulating and the premise was interesting enough that I kept reading until the end!

Reviewed in February 2003 by Connie.

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