by Linda Howard

March 1985 Reissue
ISBN: 1-55166-861-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

The blurb for this novel doesn’t sound like typical Linda Howard fare, and when checking the publication date, sure enough – it’s a book written early in her career, almost twenty years ago.

Rome Matthews has lost everything – his wife and his two beloved sons – to a senseless auto accident. His wife’s best friend, Sarah, is helpless to do anything more than offer her condolences, much as it frustrates her. She’s loved Rome since she and her friend Diana first met him. Sarah managed to come to terms with the fact that Rome chose Diana over her, and now works in the same building as Rome, although she makes sure to keep her heart well guarded. Two years have passed since Diana’s death, and when chance throws Rome and Sarah together, hidden and buried feelings begin to surface.

From the comments at the start of this book, it appears that it was originally somewhat controversial and received with mixed feelings. Some felt it hard to accept that a man could be happily married and yet be aware of, and even lust after, another woman. Today, of course, we know better. And Rome is so well written, that it’s quite easy to see where his attraction to Sarah might have existed, yet never jeopardized his marriage or his family.

I recommend this story as an interesting and unusual romance, and certainly it’s a must-read for Linda Howard fans. I can’t help but be pleased that her writing direction took her more towards romantic suspense, but her trademark characters are certainly appearing here – the alpha hero who tumbles quite helplessly at the feet of the heroine who discovers strengths she never knew she had. Vintage Howard and a good read.

Reviewed in May 2003 by Celia.

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