by Fern Michaels

July 2001
ISBN: 0-8217-6828-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

I was crying by the third page, so get your tissue box out - this one is a tearjerker!!

Helen Ward was scared. When her husband, Daniel, comes home tonight, will he be in a good mood? Will he be pleased at what she had on? Was the house clean enough? By the time he finally came home, she was shaking like a leaf. He walked in the door, and Helen knew right away, that she was in for a bad night. He complained about her new dress, he complained about the pine needles from the Christmas tree on the floor, he even complained that she never did anything right as far as he was concerned. She knew the blow would come, she just didn't expect it to be so vicious and hard. But when she was down and struggling to get up, her faithful little terrier, Lucie, came to her rescue. She grabbed hold of Daniel's pant leg and tried in vain to bite him. Daniel was so crazed by this time that he grabbed the little dog off of his leg and threw her across the room. But before he could kick Lucie, Helen was up and on her feet with a fireplace poker in hand. She gave Daniel all she could, kicking him and hitting him over and over again with the poker. Thinking she had killed him, she picked Lucie up and ran, telling Lucie (and herself!) over and over, that she was going to be all right and she would get her to a doctor.

When she arrived at the vet, he looked at Helen and Lucie, trying to decide who was the most injured. After patching Lucie up, he attended to Helen, and then called his friend to come over at once. This 'friend' turned out to be Helen's guardian angel. Known only to Helen as Billie, she allowed herself to be put into a type of witness protection program for battered wives and were given new names and identities. And although this program was virtually foolproof, Helen was still on edge every day that Daniel would find her and kill her. Would her life ever be normal again, and would she ever find true love and learn to trust again? The answer could come in the form of a college professor, Sam Tolliver, and his dog Max. He storms into her life just when she's the most vulnerable. She's scared and threatened by his presence, what if he is as bad as Daniel, what if she falls in love with him and he is disgusted with her past? All these questions and more run through her mind, as they become closer and closer and when they finally make love, it's the sweetest thing you will ever read. But would she ever have the courage to let him know about her past? And, most importantly, will he leave her when he finds out?

This was a very powerful book; I cried almost all of the way through. Ms. Michaels write stories that are believable and that her readers can relate to. Helen may have been beaten, but it won't hold her down and that's what Fern Michaels characters are all about - strong women who meet a challenge and conquer it. This story is very fast paced and full of twists and turns. You will love it!

Reviewed in October 2001 by Debbie.

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